Art / language / london / Love / Music / Philosophy / Real Life / Reviews / Writing

The Multiple Readings of David Bowie

Two years ago the incredible talented David Bowie sadly passed away, and the world lost a music genius. A few years earlier I had been fortunate enough to visit the David Bowie exhibition in the V&A museum, London. He had been heavily involved in the curation and what was presented was a unique and beautiful event. Below, is the piece I wrote after visiting the exhibition. Looking at it again, it reminds me not only was this a phenomenal spectacle to witness but I also learnt about art that day through the creativity of David Bowie.

I’ve only recently come to understand how inspirational David Bowie is as an artist. One bored lunch time I started watchingbowie_earth his interviews and was drawn into the layers behind his Art. My timing was perfect as a few weeks later I was able to go to the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A museum. It was a kaleidoscopic artistic experience with every aspect of his  work exhibited: from his music to his thoughts to his costumes, to his influences. It was both mesmerising and delightfully exhausting. He understands art and his expression of it is all capturing. I loved his words written on the wall as soon as you walk in:

All art is unstable. Its meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author. There is no authoritative voice. There are only multiple readings.”

Successfully establishing that we are not being told what to think but being asked to think what this all means to us. This encompassed what I love about art – that is free from judgement and yours to delve in as far as you like. And this is what I found David Bowie’s work does – offers you layers and layers of creative vision that enables you to experience, think, feel and indulge in life and all its possibilities, as well as its horrors.

I was lead through rooms of these representations until I found myself amongst gigantic towering screens playing his videos. It was thrilling but what really captured my attention was at the back of a wall amongst his Ziggy Stardust memorabilia was a small screen playing ‘The Mask’:


I love this film and I’ve watched it a few times since. Simple and powerful – Bowie  illustrates that the drama of our Art is also played out within the artist as well as the spectator.

The relationship between the artist and audience is ever powerful, and never more so than with the work of David Bowie.

10 thoughts on “The Multiple Readings of David Bowie

    • I think Bowies’ great too. I like his new album.He kept true to his roots but he’s always going to come under criticism for producing music as an older artist and being so iconic. What did you Think of it?

      • It’s a like reflective. Almost like missing psychedelia.

        I don’t listen to critics. If they had their way he’d still be rocking the Ziggy jumpsuit in bar shows in retro tours and bitching about that.

        He still innovates. He still remains fresh.

  1. I discovered Bowie aged 19. I was working at Butlins in Bognor Regis during Christmas 1993 to earn some cash. I was sharing a room with a local guy called Neville. He had studied Theology and had possibly dropped out. He was a wandering philosopher. He had a cassette player/recorder with him and played Ziggy Stardust. I had a new attention and respect for Bowie here on. It was an awful job. My shoes were too tight and as a waiter I was on my feet all day. Also it was quite lonely as it was the first time I was away from home at Christmas. Debut by Bjork was the other comfort on a Walkman walking on Bognor beach in the dark hearing the waves crashing. I never saw the seasonal job through and made it home on Christmas Eve. I put it down to an adventure.

    • I love this! It’s just the perfect way to discover Bowie and just the thing you need Butlins into an adventure. Did you ever see the wandering philosopher again?

  2. Pingback: Ziggy Man Cometh!!!! | Talk By Chance

  3. Pingback: David Bowie |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s