OLYMPIA BRYAN FERRY
Salsali Private Museum in Dubai presents Bryan Ferry's OLYMPIA
A quintessential icon of modern music and contemporary culture since his meteoric ascent to fame in 1972 with his groundbreaking art-rock band Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry has conceived and directed all visual aspects of his music. OLYMPIA highlights the album artwork Ferry has conceived and designed over the last 40 years, most recently on his 2010 album ‘Olympia’, featuring Kate Moss.
Originally taught by the legendary British pop artist Richard Hamilton, Ferry has, throughout his career, maintained his founding interest in art and visual culture. As one of the few musicians to be interviewed at length by the leading international journal of contemporary art, ‘Frieze’, Ferry has spoken of the very close relationship between his passion for fine art and his artistic ambitions as a singer, composer and performer.
Previously exhibited in London, Berlin and L.A. but never before seen in the Middle East, this series of exhibition prints of modern muse Kate Moss, was created for ‘Olympia’ by Bryan Ferry in collaboration with Adam Whitehead, former assistant photographer to Mario Testino, as well as with Moss herself. In a brilliant reprise of the famous painting by Edouard Manet of the same title, ‘Olympia’ (1863), Kate Moss, appearing for the first time on an album cover, poses in a series of images as Ferry’s modern day muse. Each of these photographs shares a title with a song on the Olympia album.
The manner in which Ferry has conceived and styled what he has described as the ‘idealized fans’ on the covers of his records, is both an exercise in pure Pop – creating an exciting, desirable and glamorous commodity, super-charged with aspirational values – and an elegant, mass cultural example of conceptual art. In this, there is a perfect twinning of Ferry’s artistic vision and the choice of Kate Moss, the most successful and iconic model of her generation, to create the cover art for ‘Olympia’. Moss herself is an iconic figure who blurs the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, having inspired both the mass markets of fashion and beauty products, and contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Michael Clark and Adam McEwen. Like Ferry himself, she has come to represent both an idea and an attitude – her image is used as code to transmit a state of mind.
“I approached the record with the same intensity as the early Roxy Music albums,” says Ferry, “and I wanted the artwork to represent this. I wanted a cover girl for this record who could convey the glamorous notoriety of the original ‘Olympia’ painting, and my choice was Kate Moss. Kate has long been the ‘femme fatale’ of our age, as controversial as she is beautiful, and the most glamorous female icon since Marilyn Monroe.
OLYMPIA will run until February 28, 2013, at Salsali Private Museum, in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. In an exception to SPM’s normal non-commercial status, Limited Edition prints of all artworks on display in this exhibition are available for purchase.