David Bowie Is Review – V & A
As a member of the V & A (one of the best presents I’ve ever had), I thoroughly enjoyed bypassing the queue to go straight in and for me the ‘rockstar’ feeling began there. I decided not to take the headset, as I wanted to absorb the atmosphere. I have to point out, though, if you are not a fan of people singing along unaware to said headset, take it. I experienced a questionable rendition of ‘Changes’ by an oblivious attendee, but for me this almost added some charm.
Because this is not just a costume retrospective, this is David Bowie, and as a young fan utterly bewildered and enchanted by him, I can only imagine the excitement for those who remember him in his heyday.
His costumes are embedded into the exhibition and interwoven in amongst the various memorabilia decorating the walls. The staging of the show is fantastic, you really feel like you’ve stepped into an old recording studio and that you are being invited to sample some of the magic this man created. As cheesy as it sounds, it is a wonderful feeling.
The element of this exhibition that really stunned me was the gigantic mesh screens in the second room that were easily 40ft high. Alternating between showing clips from Bowie’s concerts and turning dark to display the costumes behind the screens, they are an astounding tribute to Bowie’s work. It was a real privilege also to see some of Bowie’s sketches and artwork in the exhibition.
The exhibition touched upon Bowie’s involvement in film through a dedicated room of costumes and film clips but I personally loved the video in the last room. This film was taken at a photo shoot of Bowie for tour promotion photos, and was previously unseen footage. Whilst the exhibition clearly wants to excite the viewer with his outstanding legacy, this video also allows you to have a small insight into his personality; Who Bowie is after the make up and after the costumes and it was an great way to end a spectacular show.
The exhibition ends this Sunday, August 11th.