Pink Floyd: Art Side of the Room

By: Maria Ogundele | Date 23.05.2017
Fan of Pink Floyd or not, few of us could argue with the suggestion that the iconic rock band, has, in the past, produced some of the most iconic album covers on the planet.
Courtesy of the Pink Floyd exhibition - Their Mortal Remains, presented by London's V&A and Michael Cohl's Iconic Entertainment
“Their Mortal Remains” at the V&A is undoubtedly a “must see” for Pink Floyd lovers but despite the artwork-heavy inclusions and the emphasis on design equalling that of the music, is there enough amongst the three-hundred-and-fifty or so exhibits to immerse, entertain and influence those with little interest in the music of Pink Floyd? We sent one of the team along to the V&A, here's what she found out...

Fans of optical art can form a deep connection with an enlarged Bridget Riley monochrome image which is the inspiration behind one room at the start of the exhibition. Presented nearby, a selection of equally trippy perception altering poster artworks, designed by duo Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, for early Pink Floyd gigs, could easily mess up the mind of even the most straight-laced onlookers if stared at for too long.

Surrealism and Hipgnosis
From the late 60s to the early 80s, design collective Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgesen and Aubrey Powell) created some of the most iconic album covers in the music business. The pair were inspired by surrealist artists including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Man Ray. The V&A exhibition actually allows you to take a walk through some recreated album sleeve designs – and feel like part of the sets.

Performance dance isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind whenever the name Pink Floyd is uttered, but way back in 1972 – a collaboration between the band and French choreographer and dancer Roland Petit, resulted in the Pink Floyd Ballet. Those of you hoping for some humorous footage of the band pirouetting and tiptoeing in leotards and tutu’s will be disappointed. But the exhibits do reveal that Pink Floyd did share the same stage as the Ballet National de Marseille for the forty minute stage show – although they were very much in the background behind the dancers.

Comic Strips and Animation
Incredibly, even the cartoon character Tintin created by Georges Remi (who wrote under the pen Hergé) during the late 1920s, became associated with the band in 1989. The band found themselves included in an edition of ‘Tintin Reporter’ magazine for a story entitled ‘Tintin and Pink Floyd’ which is also on display. This wasn’t, however, the band’s first foray into the world of cartoons.

Exhibition visitors will learn that around fourteen years previously, to accompany the band’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ gigs, artwork for the tour programme designed by Hipgnosis, featured satirical comic strips about each band member. For the centrefold, the band commissioned satirical artist, illustrator and designer Gerald Scarfe to create a cartoon of Pink Floyd.

Scarfe then became the man behind the huge kinetic puppet animations such as the giant inflatable school teacher that dominated the stage on the band’s 1974 ‘The Wall’ tour. Recreations of which are also dominating the V&A museum at present.

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: “Their Mortal Remains” at the V&A runs until October. For anyone with little interest in the iconic band's music but a big interest in art - we reckon there should be just about enough arty stuff to keep you engrossed throughout.


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