Recent Exhibits – London & Melbourne, Pink Floyd to Hokusai

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

I’ve been hitting the galleries and museums in London and then in Melbourne the last few weeks.

First of all at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Knightsbridge, London there was Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains. I was never a huge Pink Floyd fan and the only time I saw them perform was in the late ‘60s, at Warwick University, so in their early days. No problem it was a fascinating exibit, much more interesting than I expected and two hours to look around was not nearly enough. In fact I enjoyed it more than the Bowie exhibit in 2013 which I saw at the V&A and also in Australia. This one featured their early days, the tech innovations, Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis album covers and set and stadium designs before concluding with a big room and 360° projections of Comfortably Numb in concert

◄ set design, Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains runs until 15 October 2017

▲California Designing Freedom runs until 17 October 2017

Not far away at the Design Museum in Kensington, California Designing Freedom features surfing, skate boarding, computers, iPhones, the big tech businesses, even the Whole Earth Catalog if you go back a bit, plus Harley choppers, revolution at Berkeley, geodesic domes, TV and cinema. Well quite a lot of it in fact! And CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing, something I’d never heard of before the previous week in The Economist and I still don’t know what it’s really about.

▲ Skate boards at the Design Museum

◄ Soon after I was back in Australia where Brave New World: Australia 1930s in on at the Ian Potter Centre at NGV Gallery at Federation Square in Melbourne runs until 15 October 2017. It’s good on the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and other ‘30s Australian architectural icons, there’s a nice section on radios (brightly coloured bakelite radios which would be very trendy today) and an interesting focus on the ‘body’ culture of the 1930s in Australia, all those bronzed Aussie blokes and Sheilas on the beach.


There’s also a swimming pool exhibit at the Ian Potter, a rerun of the swimming pool which I saw at the Australian Pavilion at the Biennale in Venice last year. ►

Finally it was across the river to the main National Gallery of Victoria where Hokusai is in residence until 15 October 2017. I wasn’t aware quite how prolific Hokusai was (or how many names he worked under). The exhibit features 176 of his works including 36 Views of Mt Fuji, A Tour to the Waterfalls in Various Provinces, Remarkable Views of Bridges in Various Provinces, Eight Views of the Ryūkyū Islands, assorted other works and the complete set of his Manga work.


▲ There are two examples of early prints of his classic work The great wave off Kanagawa displayed side by side for comparison purposes, one from the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum and one from the NGV’s own collection, with astute far-sightedness the NGV purchased a number of Hokusai’s works including this one back in 1909.