David Bowie’s vast archive donated to V&A Museum

David Bowie’s huge assortment of private gadgets — together with flamboyant Ziggy Stardust costumes, handwritten lyrics and the Stylophone utilized in “Area Oddity” — has been donated to the UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum by the late rock artist’s property.

The V&A will showcase greater than 80,000 items, most of which have by no means been within the public area, at its new hub in east London from 2025. It declined to provide the worth of the archive.

The pioneering musician, whose concepts additionally influenced movie, artwork and style, was an inveterate collector of fabric referring to his artistic course of and output over six a long time. He died from most cancers in 2016.

Bowie’s archive consists of letters, set designs, hundreds of slides, contact sheets and transparencies from photographers resembling Terry O’Neill and Helmut Newton, in addition to costumes made by style designers Alexander McQueen and Kansai Yamamoto.

David Bowie carrying the striped bodysuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto for the 1973 ‘Aladdin Sane’ tour © David Bowie Archive/PA

There are additionally “intimate notebooks” full of Bowie’s concepts, initiatives and musings, which the V&A stated would solid new mild on his artistic thought course of, in addition to “lower up” lyrics, an experimental technique of songwriting launched to Bowie by the author William Burroughs.

Guitars, amps and different tools embody Brian Eno’s synthesiser from Bowie’s 1977 album Low.

Kate Bailey, V&A senior curator for theatres and performances, stated it was “unprecedented” for a world artist to protect an archive on such a scale.

“He was retaining and documenting his artistic course of, whether or not that was an album cowl, a music lyric, a stage set or a glance . . . The truth that he had the imaginative and prescient to doc and archive it’s unbelievable,” she stated, including that Bowie was a lens by means of which to discover many cultural genres.

The trove of pop and rock historical past might be held and displayed in a newly created David Bowie Centre for the Research of Performing Arts at V&A East Storehouse in Stratford, east London, with gadgets recurrently converted.

As a consequence of open in 2025, the centre might be funded with £10mn donated by file label Warner Music Group, which owns Bowie’s songbook, and the Blavatnik Household Basis.

Cut-up lyrics for ‘Blackout’ from David Bowie’s 1977 album ‘Heroes’
Minimize-up lyrics for ‘Blackout’ from David Bowie’s 1977 album ‘Heroes’ © David Bowie Archive/PA

Bowie had a longstanding relationship with the V&A, permitting it entry to his results to stage a short lived 2013 exhibition, David Bowie is, which grew to become one of many museum’s hottest reveals, drawing 2mn individuals throughout 12 worldwide venues.

Bailey stated the present had damaged new floor with its multimedia show. Guests heard completely different tracks by Bowie — delivered by means of German accomplice Sennheiser’s headphones — as they walked between rooms.

Bailey stated the V&A had but to develop the same strategy to displaying the archive, however added: “Within the spirit of Bowie, we’ll must do one thing that may observe his creativity and imaginative and prescient.”

She stated detailed plans on tips on how to show the gathering have been at an early stage however that the centre aimed to digitise objects and written paperwork as a part of its conservation work and to extend entry to the archive.

“His music is lasting. However whenever you begin to see the sense of the visible journeys he went on and his private analysis, that’s when it takes on this different type of richness.”

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