Exhibition celebrating David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane to open at Southbank Centre in April. The two-month-long exhibition explores the creation of the album’s iconic artwork, including the legendary lightning flash portrait by photographer Brian Duffy, as well as a stellar line-up of live music and talks inspired by the album.
The Aladdin Sane: 50 Years exhibition in the Spirit Level, Royal Festival Hall (6 April – 28 May), will follow the journey of this pioneering portrait, mapping how Bowie’s continuous reshaping of his image paved the way for audiences to rethink their own identities. Curated by Chris Duffy, the son of Duffy, and Geoff Marsh, the exhibition will begin by spotlighting the vibrant music scene of the early 1970s, contextualising the pivotal moment in which Bowie and Duffy met. It will go on to explore the unique relationship between the musician and photographer, and the January 1973 photoshoot from which the iconic Aladdin Sane image was born.
Of his father’s work, Chris Duffy, said:
My father’s image of Bowie is often called the Mona Lisa of Pop. It’s important to remember it was the result of a short studio shoot using film, which then had to be sent out for commercial processing. There were no instant digital images or photoshop then. It’s extraordinary how it’s lasted and been endlessly reworked. Wherever I go in the world, it’s always somewhere on a t-shirt.
The exhibition is complemented by a stunning new book by Chris Duffy, Aladdin Sane 50: The definitive celebration of Bowie’s most iconic album and music’s most famous photograph – with unseen images, to be released on 30th March 2023 by Welbeck at £40 hardback.
The Southbank Centre Archive will also present a separate free display exploring David Bowie’s history with the Centre, stretching over 50 years, and his ongoing legacy. From his performance in the recently opened Purcell Room in 1969, to later performances alongside Lou Reed and his curation of Southbank Centre’s annual contemporary music festival, Meltdown, never before seen archival material will be available for public view.
Aladdin Sane: 50 Years, Royal Festival Hall, 6th April – 28th May, More info HERE