THE ART OF HIPGNOSIS ON SHOW AT THE GRONINGER MUSEUM
Groningen is a small town in the north of the Netherlands, unknown to most people, but home to one of the most important universities in the Netherlands and a city with a strong international identity, thanks mainly to the many students from all over the world who populate it every year.
The Groninger Museum is the main local museum, housing a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
From 19 January to 14 May 2023, The art of Hipgnosis takes place, an exhibition at the Groningen Museum dedicated to the Hipgnosis graphics studio, which contributed to music history in the 1970s by designing the covers of the most famous hit albums of the great rock bands, at a time when photoshop did not yet exist.
Music fans and not only, hurry up!
This exhibition is a trip down memory lane, to the notes of the most legendary tracks by your favourite bands.
We often forget how important the cover is in an album.
The heart of course is the music, the concept, the art that that black record unleashes as soon as we put it on the tip of the turntable and start the magic, but the cover is the gateway to that world, the first visual impact that conveys the message of the album through the image.
It must be incisive, captivating and express at a glance what we are about to listen to.
If I tell you ‘I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon’, I’m sure that everyone, but really everyone, and not just fans, will know who I’m referring to and what album I’m talking about. And I’m also pretty sure that an image immediately flashed in front of you: that prism of light on a black background that forms the album cover.
Well, the legendary cover was designed by the Hipgnosis duo of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, from whom Pink Floyd commissioned much of their work, from Atom Heart Mother to Animals, viaWish you were here and The dark side of the moon.
Pink Floyd’s rock is known to be progressive and psychedelic, full of concept albums that unravel themes such as time, mental illness and criticism of materialistic society.
A curious anecdote concerns the cover of Animals.
During filming, the bizarre flying pig that stands out in the centre of the power plant broke loose from the chain that held it to the ground and flew over the skies of London.
A perfect and unexpected launch for the band’s tenth album, with a real ‘pig on the wing’ advertising its release.
When speaking of legends, it is impossible to keep the name of another of the best bands in rock history quiet.
With some 111 million copies sold between 1969 and 1980 alone, Led Zeppelin is without doubt on the podium.
Hipgnosis designed the covers forCoda, Houses of the holy, The song remains the same e In through the out door, the band’s last album with an eloquent title, distributed in unusual packaging and of which there are no less than 6 different versions, each depicted from the perspective of one of the characters in the scene, the inside of an absinthe bar. And it is immediately ‘In the evening, when the day is done, I’m looking for a woman…’.
Hipgnosis later worked with Genesis and Peter Gabriel, (the covers ofAnd then there were threeand Melt are theirs) and had contacts with other idols of the London music scene of the time, but some of them, including Queen and the Rolling Stones, turned down the collaboration.
The art of Hipgnosis is not only a curious exhibition to visit, but also an opportunity to re-evaluate graphic design as an artistic form and rewind the tape of memories, letting oneself be transported back in time, to the London of Roger Waters and Robert Plant, the cradle of the brit-rock that made history, among the live music pubs and the Abbey Road studios, the miniskirts and the showy hair styles, where the best form of art was the notes shouted from the 33 rpm.