It’s very hard to tell the stunning, spinning and intense career of an artist like David Bowie. Beloved and idolized from who loves his music than he was much respected from who just listened to his music. David Bowie probably was the most influential pop-rock star of the last 50 years. It’s pretty resizing defined him like a pop “icon”; he wasn’t just a singer and a song writer, he was an artist who explored and shifting his style and his music in almost fifty year career.
The curators of the museum were granted access to David’s personal archive and at the same years the exhibition dedicated to the “White Duke” became real.
The successful with more than 1.3 million visitors, convinced the V&A management to bring the exhibition on tour. Toronto, São Paulo, Berlin, Chicago, Paris, Melbourne and Groningen. Now it’s in Italy, at MAMbo museum in Bologna, where inaugurated on 14th July.
The curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh have selected more than 300 items; covers, drawings, sketches, videos, song lyrics and costumes, such as the Ziggy Stardust suit designed by Freddie Burretti that Bowie wore in 1972 on Top of the Pops while he was performing “Starman”, or the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie together with Alexander McQueen for the “Earthling” album cover.
And then videos and live performances like “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, video clips, furnishings created for the Diamond Dogs tour and the other items and objects; fantastic and less rated materials but only partly able to explain the iconic role and status that Bowie had not just in the music business; in fact his work moves in art, design, theater and contemporary culture for an artist able to observe and reinterpret contemporary society with an innovative look left indelible traces in the visual and pop culture.
The exhibition runs all his carrier, retracing the beginning, introducing the spectator to the David Bowie’s career first years in London in 1960, till the crucial point, the single Space Oddity dated 1969.
Particular attention is paid then to the first great success of Bowie, Space Oddity and the fictional character of Major Tom, the first Bowie’s alter ego. This section reveals the different sources inspiration that shaped his music and his style of performance; surrealism, the Brecht’s theater, the art of miming and the Japanese kabuki theatre performances.
The itinerary continues focusing the creative process of Bowie in the genesis of the album and the elaborate design of its shows focused on characters and fictional stories. The 1972 was the year of change with the birth of its most famous creation: Ziggy Stardust, the human manifestation of an alien being that has had so much influence in pop culture. This period highlight the stylistic transformations of Bowie and its influence on social mobility and the gay emancipation.
The last part of the exhibition presents audios and videos presentations of large size are coupled to the display of different costumes and original artist’s materials. A visual-audio space where the visitor is surrounded by some of the most innovative video of Bowie including DJ and The Hearts Filthy Lesson. The exhibition ends with a series of photographs and portraits taken by photographers from the likes of Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts and John Rowlands.
The MAMbo museum is set at Via Don Giovanni Minzoni 14, very close to the central train station, open from Tuesday to Sunday.
Credits photos: MAMbo museum www.mambo-bologna.org
Official website of the event: davidbowieis.it.