David Bowie is, is the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie – one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. Over 300 objects including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork and rare performance material from the past five decades are brought together from the David Bowie Archive for the very first time. The exhibition demonstrates how Bowie’s work has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design, theatre, and contemporary culture and focusses on his creative processes, shifting style and collaborative work with diverse designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, and film.
The V&A was given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie - one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. David Bowie 'is' explores the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades.
The V&A’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh selected more than 300 objects that were brought together for the very first time. They include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments, and album artwork.
The exhibition explored the broad range of Bowie’s collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art, and film. On display were more than 300 objects including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, photography by Brian Duffy; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell; visual excerpts from films and live performances including The Man Who Fell to Earth, music videos such as Boys Keep Swinging and set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974). Alongside these were more personal items such as never-before-seen storyboards, handwritten set lists, and lyrics as well as some of Bowie’s own sketches, musical scores and diary entries, revealing the evolution of his creative ideas.