Radical. Innovative. Complex. Surreal
In the context of the European Month of Photography Berlin (EMOP) 2018, and in co-operation with Aubrey Powell, Browse Gallery Berlin and Hypergallery present Daring to Dream: 50 Years of Hipgnosis
Extended to November 11th 2018
“In the age of Rock’n Roll you could do great things – if only you had the balls to do it”
Words by John Colton and Emily Smeaton
PHOTOGRAPHY | JOHNGMOORE.COM
In 1917 Marcel Duchamp forever changed the understanding of modern art with his urinal Fountain and other ready-mades. His position, that it is not the object that is to be considered art but rather the act of choosing, became the foundation of pop and conceptual art 50 years later. The thought also guided the creative approach of nowadays legendary British design studio Hipgnosis which was founded in London in 1968 by two young photographers, Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson.
During the next fifteen years Hipgnosis designed some of the most famous album covers in music history. With their radical, often surreal, image compositions and innovative photographic designs they influenced generations of photo designers to follow and created iconic images which transformed the discipline of album cover design into to art; admired and loved by millions of people all over the world.
On the advent of Hipgnosis' 50th birthday, and in participation with EMOP Berlin 2018, Browse Gallery Berlin along with Hypergallery presented a series of large scale prints of iconic Hipgnosis album covers and a number of black & white photo portraits of cult rock bands including Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Paul McCartney and Wings and more. Many of these photographs had never previously been exhibited.
Additional black & white photography, including a series for the theatre Lumière & Son, demonstrated the breadth of Hipgnosis’ photographic work and their artistic relations.
First hand story-telling in the image captions by Aubrey Powell gives visitors an insight into the creative processes; the idea and concept developments in the art house Hipgnosis; their day-to-day work practices; and the logistical challenges of such epic photography, and complex photo design production processes, before the invention of Photoshop.
A large audience was able to hear the story behind some of the famed images. They also learned about Hipgnosis’ relationship with the bands and the occasional fight to retain artistic integrity in the midst of a burgeoning rock music industry.
Hipgnosis in the 1970s were granted enormous freedom and access to substantial budgets with which to realise their epic ideas - and pay for their sometimes extravagant photo shoots - which entailed flying a huge pig over London or setting a man on fire in Hollywood. “In the age of Rock’n Roll you could do great things – if only you had the balls to do it”, said Aubrey Powell, commenting on the legendary photo shoot for the Nice Album Elegy (1971) in which they brought 60 large red footballs to the Sahara and only a small air pump to blow them up.
A 16 minute documentary video from 1975 showed the young photo designers Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson talk about their work and the legendary success of their innovative album cover art. They broke with the mainstream of album cover design in the 1960s, often with a sense of self-irony and subversive dry humour – a feature which is often found in their creative works as well.
The exhibition has now been extended to meet demand, and will run until November 11th 2018.
Open: Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 8pm
Location: Bergmannstr. 5, 10961 Berlin, 1st Floor (courtyard to the right)