On the 26th May 2017, A Fleeting Glimpse headed down to the much highly anticapated Their Mortal Remains Exhibition.
The Exhibition was put together mainly by Aubrey Powell a partner within the company Hipgnosis which featured the late Storm Thorgeson.
Hipgnosis are mostly known for their long extensive Art Work for almost the entire Pink Floyd back catalogue,
The over all feeling towards the exhibition was that it was treated like a painting. It very much told a story and made you feel as if you were part of the bands story.
The Exhibition featured many contributions from David Gilmour, Roger Waters, The Rick Wright Estate, And Nick Mason.
Whilst at first the impression that was given was that the exhibition would be done soley by the band themselves, it came to light that the actual exhibition was contructed by Aubrey Powell and the V & A museum and only featured content and items by the band.
For those major floydian fans out the overall layout was very much based exactly like the new Pink Floyd : The Early Years Boxset. Each room featured a time period and items and articles that were very relevant to each year in retrospect you were starting from the begining of Leonards Lodgers right to the finale of the band with The Endless River. The Concept of a walk through time was very much the focus of the entire exhibit.
On first impression the V and A is a very large and grand building with alot of space. Walking in you feel excited by the fact that there is so much room to breathe and for the museum to actually hold a very large exhibit installation.
You queue up and wait for your designated time slot and the setting is that its popular. Standing and waiting to be allowed through your joined by 30 – 40 members of the public wearing Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Roger Waters tour tshirts … It might seem a bit strange to see this at an exhibition the impression that it gave was that Floyd fans are passionate and become like family. Wearing a band related t-shirt around others fans it just like wearing a pair of shoes when you leave the house, It becomes apart of you… it gave a feeling that the band shared a part and has already created an impact in so many peoples lives.
You enter the exhibition to be wecomed by 2 lovely female members of staff who hand you a lanyard with a receiver device plugged into some state of the art sehnheiser audio headphones, The receiver doesnt have any buttons to give you the option to skip certain parts and only features the minimal up and down volume controls. You are told that you simply walk around and the reciever picks up a signal and tracks exactly where you are in the building to give you an audio visual experiance.
Entering the exhibit through a corridor you a greated with a very large Bedford Van which is what the box for Pink Floyd : The Early Years is packaged in.
Standing at the room staring at this Van gives you the feeling that what you are about to experiance is a journey through time. Walking through the side door the headphones start blaring a live version of Interstellar Overdrive (It sounded alot like the latest Record Store Day Release). As you walk through the van the decor is very typical 60s phsycadelica the paintwork is very much black and white and represents the floaty atomsphere that was very relevant what you are about to experiance.
Looking up at the ceiling is a reproduction of the UFO Club lightshow that the band used to use back in the days of Underground London, The room you are now in itself is completely filled with Artwork and Flyers from the bands first show as The Pink Floyd right through to Syd Barret’s last appearance with the band in 1969 when pink floyd briefly became a 5 piece. There is a section of the main exhibition wall which features a timeline of how the band started and how many varations it went through to give us the classic lineup that we have become so familar with for so many years.
In each room is a very old fashion london telephone box, Whilst not actualy about the band direct each one features articles and video footage about the time period you are going through. You walk up to the postbox for the sound in your ears to be automatically synced up with the video footage you are watching. In the first room the telephone box had video footage and articles about LSD and the drug movement of what is being called “The Swinging Sixties”, It is very good to see that the museum is trying to give you a real sense of what was going on at that time.
The next room is where the exhibition really starts to take shape, Entering the sound in your headphones changes to the chimes of a bycycle, There is so much infront of you and hanging down from the roof you don’t quite know where to walk to and read first.
There is many glass cabinets that feature things relevant to the changing times with the departure of Syd and the introdution of David Gilmour, The Exhibit very much takes this onboard and has included contributions that tell the story.
In the first glass cabinet on the left hand side you see many items from David Gilmours collection including a Hofner guitar that he used in 1966 with his first band Jokers Wild, His first ever guitar pedal was also included within this cabinet with Video footage showing on a very old black and white television showing him playing the guitar in question. Saddly there was no audio available so you still have the sound of bicycle chimes playing in your Headphones.
The next cabinet featured some very interesting Reproductions of Syd Barrets equipment due to the long years since his departure from the band (Which in question the cause was never confirmed, many say drug overdose and others say his drug use was result of him not coping with the fame). In the cabinet features a reproduction of the Esquire and Danelectro guitars that Syd would have used throughout the very early years of the band from Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to A Saucerfull Of Secrets. What was very interesting is the letter that was sent to the bands management asking why one of the band members had walked out of filming at the BBC and was not found for many days after.
Opposite Syds cabinet is a section dedicated to Atom Heart Mother, It featured the choirs singing notes and a few instruments used on the album including a very early 70s Fender Stratocaster that David Gilmour used on the record and live shows around 1970. There is also a reproduction bass using some original parts of Rogers P Bass that was used to record the album.
On the cieling is various items including Syd’s Bike and the Mirror Prism which was used very early for the Dark side of the moon tours in 1971 onwards, The rest of this room goes through a time period of 1970 up until 1972 many cabinets show things from the organ from which Richard Wright used to create the sound on echoes right through to the original pedals and amplifiers David Gilmour used on the magnificent 1971 Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii Release.
Entering the 3rd room in pitch black the audio soon changes to The Great Gig In The Sky and infront of you is a laser light beam reproduction of the Dark Side Of The Moon with the background very spacey and ambient with stars. For those who have seen Roger Waters at the end of his Dark Side tour in 2008 it is very similar to the Prism that was used at the end of the show,
We now enter the part of the exhibition which completely grabs your attention and almost seems like the pinnacle, This was the instrument room.
With so much to look at it you will find yourself overwhelmed with how close your are getting to the bands history. Included in this momentous room is classic guitars that have been used by David Gilmour including his legendary Black Stratocaster, Esquire Workmate, Bill Lewis Custom and Charvel Telecaster which was used to record the wall. There so many contributions from all band members that you need to see for yourself (We arent going to give everything away)
Walking into the room the audio changes to sound of David Gilmour speaking, not quite knowing where to focus your eyes due the amount of history infront of you, after a minute or so you find yourself looking at video footage of David Gilmour playing all the guitars that are included in the exhibit at studio number 2 in Abbey Road, There all clippets of him playing some very classic songs… Worth the price of entry alone.
The Segue through to the next exhibit features a section which contains the first video projection work from the band, Like mentioned earlier this feels like the 4th disk of The Early Years boxset. It really has been created to feel like a passage and jourey through time everything that could have been included to hold large memorial status to the viewers and public viewing has been included and it really does feel like Aubrey has constructed the exhibition like a painting, After leaving each dedicated room you deffinaely wont leave without feeling engulfed into the story.
Now this part is something else!! This room is by far the most incredible wow factor of them all. Greeted infront of you is a scaled down reproduction of Battersea Power Station, Complete with algie the pig flying over the iconic chimenys, The reproduction is so stunning that you miss the fact behind you lies a 25ft section of The Wall and Teacher Puppet that was used on The Wall Live 1980 / 81 tours.
By ths part of the exhibition you are walking through 1977 to – 84 the audio changes and blasts out Pigs (Three Diffrent Ones) and you find yourself staring some really stand out articles featuring new interviews from the surviving memebers of the band talking about how the Animals album was made and how the punk movement in london influenced angrier music and lyrics, Another stand out from this is all the original inflatables from the 1974/5 Wish You Were Here and 1977 In The Flesh / Animals Tours, It is very hard not to give away the entire exhibition by writing this review but there are alot of Instruments and Props in this room which are featured all the way from Animals to The Final Cut.
Whilst the final cut was the last Pink Floyd album with Roger Waters the section of the exhibit shows just how creatively influenced Roger was, The short film that was made for the album in 1984 has been brushed up and remastered in stunning quality and you will find yourself being moved by how deeply the lyrical content from Roger captures the emotion and power… Its an album that is very much overlooked in the Floyd repitoire but the power and emotion that it drives is something only Roger could have shown.
The final three rooms are all about the final years of the band and include everything from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason first draft lyrics to the actual 20ft high heads thats where created for The Devision Bell album cover.
There really is so much included that its very hard to pinpoint and tell you exactly what its like to be there, it really does feel like a complete retrospective of the bands entire career. whilst being completely true to the bands history Aubrey has captured the entire essence and the magic that has made the band what it is.
The final section features the last performance from the band in stunning 4 dimensional projections with a top of the range 360 degree audio experiance. You have never heard Pink Floyd so clear !!!
The only downside that is to be found of the exhibition was that the audio technology could have been used a little bit more to its full potential. There is so much to read and so much to look at that there could have developed it a bit more and included Nick for example talking about what part of the exhibit you are viewing and what articles, It was very much used just to play soundtracks…
Overall it really was a magic experiance, very informative and almost like the exhibit itself was a concept album. Its deffinately highly recommend to any fan however big or small you need to attend and see it for yourself, It will deffinately make you feel connected to the history and shows you the perfect example of how it was developing the creativity the band had that was so unique to what they acheived.
There were some things that you think may be included in the exhibition that werent to be seen, but its fair to say that they werent included for a reason. All the content has meaning and emotion behind it and is very relevant to the narrative and story that is being presented. (For me personally it exceeded my expecations and i think if there was more content it would take away what is being presented and make it almost like just a collection of artificats).
I really want to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you who donated via our gofoundmepage to make this happen because of you we were able to hopefully show the people that cant make it to the event a glimpse of what it was like to be there.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your contributions