“Bowie by Gerald Fearnley”: the Thin White Duke’s debut on display in London

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One of the 15 portaits by Gerald Fearnley, on display in London at Snap Galleries

By Valentina Celi

London is getting ready to admire David Bowie in one of his earliest artistic incarnations, through the work of the photographer Gerald Fearnley, six months after his untimely demise.

David Bowie was one of the most prolific and eclectic artists in the history of contemporary music: thanks to his constant transformations, we had the chance to live a musical adventure, in which he took us from the colorful Brixton district where he was born, to the dreary astral heights of Mars, becoming the storyteller who could charm three generations with unchanged elegance, either singing about earthly realities or out-of-this-world fantasies.

Since his death in January, Bowie's mural in Brixton has been turned into a memorial by his always devoted fans.
Since his death in January, Bowie’s mural in Brixton has been turned into a memorial by his always devoted fans.

A highly acclaimed exhibition, “David Bowie Is” curated by the Victoria & Albert Museum had already retraced the artistic journey, and stylistic developments that have characterized his career, describing how with his work the artist has managed to reinterpret the latest trends of art, design, theater and contemporary culture; starting its journey from London, after a sold-out lasted several months, the exhibition began to tour the world, touching Chicago, St. Paul, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and Groningen, and arriving in Italy from July 14th to November 13th, 2016 at MAMbo in Bologna.

One of the installations of "David Bowie Is" exhibition, now in Bologna
One of the installations of “David Bowie Is” exhibition, now in Bologna

From August 16th to September 24th, London will return to talk about Bowie with the exhibition “Bowie by Gerald Fearnley“, a series of never seen portraits, made in 1967, at the very beginning of his musical career. The importance of these pictures is given by the background of the photographer Gerald Fearnley: in fact he is the brother of Dek, bassist in the band which debuted with the White Duke, and back then, he found himself working with Bowie because the band was using Fearnley’s family house in Worcester Park, Surrey, to rehearse new songs; it was Gerald himself, who took the picture featured on the cover of Bowie’s first album.

david bowie debut album
David Bowie’s debut cover, shot by Gerald Fearnley

The photos on display in the exhibition date back exactly to that period; in those 15 unpublished black & white portraits, we can feel an intimate, retro vibe, and spot Bowie’s enjoyment in experimenting playful and unconventional poses.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to appreciate yet another side of the multifaceted personality of one of the greatest artists of English music, and at the same time it’s a fantastic opportunity for collectors, who will be able to buy one of the limited editions signed by Fearnley himself.

One of the 15 portaits by Gerald Fearnley, on display in London at Snap Galleries
One of the 15 portaits by Gerald Fearnley, on display in London at Snap Galleries

The venue of the exhibition is Snap Galleries, in Piccadilly, which sole aim is to exhibit, promote and sell portraits related to the rock & roll world, with shots dating from the 50s until today, and with a particular focus on the protagonists of the musical scene of the 60s and 70s.
For more info, check the website Snapgalleries.com

Snap Galleries,
12 Piccadilly Arcade,
St. James’s, SW1Y 6NH, London

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