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  • MoMA’s Björk retrospective © HG Issue

  • MoMA’s Björk retrospective © HG Issue

  • MoMA’s Björk retrospective © HG Issue


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Inside MoMA’s Björk retrospective

It was about time that a museum shaded light on the awe-inspiring career of one of the world’s most talented singers, composers and musicians: Björk. MoMA inaugurated some weeks ago a comprehensive retrospective dedicated to our favorite Icelandic pop queen, spanning over the 20 years of her ground-breaking career. The exhibition includes an impressive selection of costumes, personal objects, hand-written lyrics, instruments, photos, video-clips and films drawn from Björk’s eight full-length albums —from her 1993Debut” that defined the sound of the 90’s to her latest 2015Vulnicura” album that was inspired by her recent break-up with her longtime partner, artist Matthew Barney.

Björk’s retrospective is spread over three floors, with the museum’s lobby showcasing various instruments used on her 2011Biophilia” album, among them a gameleste, a pipe organ, a gravity harp and a Tesla coil. The second floor features two separate spaces, the first dedicated to Björk’s innovative videos that were directed by creatives of the likes of Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Nick Knight, Chris Cunningham, Sophie Muller and Stéphane Sednaoui, and the second featuring an impressive MoMA commissioned installation —an Andrew Thomas Huang-directed video for the “Black Lake” track from her “Vulnicura” album, portraying Björk in an Icelandic cave, wearing a stunning Iris van Herpen dress.

Last, but not least, MoMA’s third floor stages “Songlines”, an interactive audiovisual experience that features a biographical narrative written by Icelandic poet Sjón and narrated by actress Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir. The visitors are given an iPod and headphones, and with the help of a motion-sensitive application they are guided through a variety of rooms, listening to different sounds and songs according to their location. Among the objects on display are Marjan Pejoski’s 2001 Swan Dress that Björk wore at the Oscars, Hussein Chalayan’s jacket for the cover of Björk’s 1995 album “Post”, Chris Cunningham’s sensual robots for the “All Is Full of Love” music video, Alexander McQueen’s gown for the “Pagan Poetry” video, Bernhard Willhelm’s sculptural design for the cover of Björk’s 2007 album “Volta”, and Iris van Herpen’s 2013 Biophilia tour dress. The exhibition, which will remain on view until June 7, 2015, is accompanied by an extensive catalogue, featuring texts by Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Ross, Nicola Dibben, Timothy Morton and Sjón.