On Sunday I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to go the V&A here in London to see the exhibition, “David Bowie Is”. The tickets came by way of Twitter and the friend of a friend who was unable to attend but had the grace to offer the tickets to anybody who was available to go.
I would have more pictures to show if I was allowed but there was a “No photography” and this is new one to me “No Sketching” policy inside. Throughout the exhibition and in the advertising for the exhibition the sentence “David Bowie Is” completed in various forms.
I didn’t see my version which is “universal” and this comes really from my observation of the people who were at the exhibition. I had tickets for 7.15 p.m on a Sunday evening and it was packed. It was rather bizarre in that you are given a headset to wear as you go through the exhibition, the downside of this technology is that you’re all in your aural bubble as you go from exhibit to exhibit and not interacting with the people you came with. There was also the odd sensation of the wireless sound technology cutting out and replaying the track from the other side of the wall in certain areas.
I saw people from all ages, shapes and sizes, colours and creeds, there were the rock star wannabees who could do with aging gracefully and might want to consider age appropriate clothing and sunglasses in a darkened exhibition space just looks terrible, there were the fashion students making their mental notes, there were the V&A members who will go to everything because they’re members, there were kids who were engaged with this figure for whom this might be their first exposure.
The exhibition tried as best as it could to cover as much of what it could and boy has David Bowie been busy. There was a lot to take in but I think everybody can’t not have been impressed by the attention to detail that Bowie puts into the involvement and invention for each period that he chooses to investigate and expand upon at a given time. It was a real privilege in a way to see behind the curtain as hand written lyrics and methodolgies were revealed as well as Bowie’s own sketches from album covers to costume or set designs were shown.
It is a big show and you’ll be there longer than you think but its been put together well enough that until towards the end you will be immersed to such a degree that you lose track of time.
Would I recommend this show? Yes because ultimately there is enough to interest the casual observer to the die hard fan and also for those who might not think that Bowie is relevant to them.
I also think those across all of the arts would find some source of inspiration amongst the diversity of exhibits on view here.
I almost feel as if I should try to write more but also know that too much text is sometimes off-putting so I’ll leave it at that.