Every brick in the wall of Pink Floyd’s successful legacy revealed
The Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition welcomes Montreal fans into the world of Pink Floyd from Nov. 4 to Dec. 31 at the Arsenal Contemporary Art Museum. This 60- to 90-minute-long experience transports visitors into the wonders of Pink Floyd, diving into the core of the rock band’s creativity and incredible legacy.
Whether you are someone who barely knows the surface of who the band is, or if you are a hardcore listener, any opportunity to visit the exhibition is worthwhile.
It is an interactive experience that gives new meaning to the artist-and-fan connection. Visitors are given headphones to watch exclusive interviews of the band members, studio recordings, original songs, and the creative minds who brought their famous album covers to life. The atmosphere is silent yet powerful as all eyes are drawn right to the band talking through little screens, revisiting moments from their career. Some of these moments have never been known before.
As soon as you walk into the museum, a black wall filled with images of the band’s past concerts in Montreal catches the eye, and Roger Waters in a Montreal Canadiens jersey right in the middle is impossible not to miss. Walking through the legacy of Pink Floyd starts with the band’s creation in 1965 by the late and great Syd Barrett, his fellows Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, and ends with their later projects in the 2000s.
The sections are dimly lit, letting the artifacts take the centre stage. The guitars, basses, drum sets and keyboards on display are the originals used by the band members. The scratches on the guitars are faint yet surreal to spot upon closer inspection. It is worth taking the time to observe the details on the instruments, to point out the marks and have that they-really-played-these moment. It is even more surreal watching Roger Waters or David Gilmour strumming on that exact guitar on video, as if you’re right there with the band.
I have always been intrigued by Pink Floyd — by their style, psychedelic experimentation, musical textures, and storytelling through their art and music. Their strange yet beautiful experimental combo manifests into every single album they released.
Each section of the exhibit represents an album of the band, namely The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Division Bell. Oversized images of the album covers are hung on a white wall, allowing the colours to pop and make a statement. Right beside them are the framed original images of the covers.
The Wall’s section was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Enormous inflatables from their previous albums floated above, watching everything unfold below. Cages with more guitars and archives of Roger Waters, who is simultaneously heard describing the struggles the band had with the inflatable pig for the Animals album, were eye-catching and humorous. With The Wall being one of Pink Floyd’s most successful albums, it is incredible to find out that the idea came to Roger Waters during a concert at the Olympic Stadium back in 1977 — a reason why Montreal is a special place for the band.
Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains is a breathtaking exhibit and a must-see for anyone who enjoys and appreciates their music. I was able to appreciate the band in a way that I have not in the past. The magic in the silence created by the exhibit is intoxicating — it’s just people looking, admiring, listening, and traveling through time with Pink Floyd that makes the experience so memorable.