‘They went from darlings of the underground to a global mega-band’ – Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A 15.05.17

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pink floyd Q A 2

The curator of Their Mortal Remains on how the band transformed expectations of rock concerts

This audio-visual journey through Pink Floyd’s music, design and staging, from its debut in the 1960s to the present day, was put together in close collaboration with Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the estate of Richard Wright. It will feature more than 350 artefacts from the band’s career, and material from the V&A’s collection. Curator Victoria Broakes told us more.

ICON Is this exhibition particularly timely?

It opens 50 years after the band’s Games for May concert at the then-new Queen Elizabeth Hall. Pink Floyd was invited to perform at an event billed as ‘space-age relaxation for the climax of spring – electronic composition, colour and image projection, girls and The Pink Floyd’. Their performance that day was a turning point for the band and raised expectations for live rock shows. Afterwards, Syd Barrett said: ‘In the future, groups are going to have to offer more than a pop show. They are going to have to offer a well-presented theatre show.’

ICON What will the exhibition’s focus be?

Pink Floyd had huge cultural importance and influence, yet have in the past been reticent in talking about their work. The show will be an opportunity to examine the breadth of their pioneering activity, and how it related to the changing world around them. It is broadly chronological, but within that we focus on themes: music, technology, stage and album design, live performance, and how their ambition drove forward the development of the whole performance and touring industry.

ICON How did their visual language evolve?

They went from darlings of the underground to a global mega-band, as an industry of touring developed around them. After an early psychedelic period they developed a unique ‘Floydian’ visual language through their album design and use of inflatables and lighting in their shows. The imagery changed, but their ambition remained.




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