Saturday, 2 June 2018

Their Mortal Remains - Rome

Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains

Although I've always wanted to visit Italy for the reasons I already stated, it was the Pink Floyd exhibition that actually nudged me into booking a trip sooner rather than later. I saw Their Mortal Remains numerous times in London and it meant a lot to me; it’s difficult to get across just how immense and utterly immersive it was, and obviously Pink Floyd mean so much to me anyway. I'd spend a minimum of four hours there each and every visit and it was so immersive it felt like being transported to another world. It had closed in October of last year and I was eager to visit it in it's new location, partly to get my fix of it, and also to see how it compared. I expected it to be almost the same, but with additions specific to Italy.

Their Mortal Remains

The exhibition opened in Rome in January and was due to end on 20th May, which is why I flew into Rome for one day and traveled on to Naples. I really loved seeing it again, but to be completely honest it was a let down. There were lots of things missing to the point entire displays had gone, and they’d reconfigured the layout because of that which stopped it flowing as well as it had at the V&A. Which I understand from the point that people had lent their stuff to the exhibition and wanted it back instead of having it go on a world tour, but it’s still disappointing. It took me an hour and a half to get around it, where as it took me over 4 hours each time I saw it in London because there was so much to take in.

Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains

Things that were missing included the model of the Bedford van, Gerald Scarfe's large painting of the hammer march, Syd's bike, Rick's instruments, both The Division Bell and A Momentary Lapse Of Reason rooms had been more than halved, the Point Me At The Sky section was gone, the circular screen projection showing the animation for One Of These Days was gone, there were none of the telephone boxes filled with social history for each time point, and I'm sure there were other smaller things I might have missed. There were also lots of decorative items missing, such as the centre labels for each album display and lots of projections such as the Wish You Were Here logo on the floor and several other elements.

Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains

There weren't many additions, but the main and most noticeable were the inflatables from the Animals 'In The Flesh' tour. They had part of the Nuclear Family, and best of all and the highlight of the exhibition for me: Algie the pig. The inflatable pig is so iconic for Pink Floyd imagery, and it’s difficult to appreciate the scale of it when it’s usually floating so high above so it was great to get that perspective. Animals is one of my favourite albums too, and I’ve always loved the imagery as I’m such a fan of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. In London they had a small model of Algie floating above Battersea Power Station which served as the 'walls' for the display of the Animals section of the exhibition. Aubrey Powell (of Hipgnosis) stated that they didn't have the ceiling space at the V&A for the inflatables, which I can understand.

Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains
Their Mortal Remains

The biggest disappointment was the final room. In London it was incredible - there were screens on all four walls with lights coming from the ceiling and it really gave the impression of almost being in a live event. It played the music videos for High Hopes, Arnold Layne, and the Live 8 performance of Comfortably Numb which was their last before Rick passed. It was emotional and an incredible sight, you can watch a video I filmed of it here. The Rome version of this room was utter crap, as you can see. It's so bad I don't even want the photo in anything other than a link! There was no immersion to it, it was just one screen on one wall looping the Comfortably Numb footage over and over. It was also so loud that you could clearly hear it from the very first room, whereas the V&A had obviously soundproofed which may sound like a nit picky thing, but it's that word again: immersion. Rome had absolutely none, whereas London had it in spades.

Seeing Their Mortal Remains in Rome has made me grateful I saw it as many times as I did in London, and removed any desire to see it again in any other country. It does make me sad though that the people who were waiting for the tour won't be getting the full experience.



I'd already bought most of the gift shop when it was in London, but I did manage to find a couple of things that I hadn't seen before. I knew I wanted the tote before going as it was the one thing specific to Rome, and I also really love the artwork of Algie floating above the Colosseum. I thought the Dark Side of the Moon etched prism was something really unique, and as I collect crystals I like how it blends in with them on my shelf until you take a closer look.





I've wanted one of these Bedford van models for a while and they sell for an absolute fortune on eBay as they're quite difficult to get hold of, so I felt right jammy seeing a whole stack of them in the gift shop and honestly expected them to cost a lot more than they did. These models were originally supposed to come as part of the Early Years box set, which as you can see in the background it's designed after (and if you scroll back to the top of this post, you'll see Nick loading his drums into the real version). There was some kind of manufacturing issue that stopped them coming as part of the box set, which in turn has made them highly collectible. I'm not quite sure why to be honest, but I'm very pleased to have it in my collection none the less as the van is such an important part of Floyd history.

8 comments:

  1. Aw that's too bad so many portions of this exhibit were missing! I'm glad you were able to see it in full glory in London though :)

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    1. I'm really glad I saw it as many times as I did while it was here! At least it's saved me money though, as I won't be tempted to see it anywhere else!

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  2. Hi Sydney, what a shame it wasn't as immersive. I haven't made the time to properly listen to Pink Floyd yet, even though I'm a big fan of classic rock. Your enthusiasm reminds me to give them a listen one day. 😊

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    1. If you do give them a listen, I'd recommend starting with their album Relics, it's a compilation of their early singles and stuff and gives a good overview. Or if you prefer the less psychedelic stuff, Animals is a really good more straight up rock album. I think sometimes people make the mistake of heading straight for the weirder stuff and it puts them off! 😂

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  3. It's a shame so much was missing, though at least you got your van (and had been able to enjoy the exhibition in London).

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    1. The gift shop was definitely the highlight!

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  4. It is interesting to hear how different the two exhibits are from each other. I always wondered how traveling exhibits translate from one location to another. Sounds like it can really hurt depending on the location.

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    1. I found that interesting too! I always assumed it would be the same wherever, so it was really eye opening seeing the restraints put on it. Even learning that the ceiling was too low at the V&A for the inflatables isn't something I'd ever consider.

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