Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I had the most amazing, chilled weekend - and part of that was finally attending the Peter Saville exhibition at Urbis.

Now, Urbis is itself a bit of a letdown - fantastic building, but patchy exhibits that failed to draw me in. It doesn't help that many of them involve audio and video in an open space concept, which means you can hear them throughout the building and makes paying attention difficult.

However, we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Peter Saville show, which is set up in a separate part of the building. At £5 entry, I was a bit wary at what would be in store, but isn't it nice to eat your words once in a while? I've since found out that it was arranged by the Design Museum in London - perhaps the Urbis curators should take heed.

As you enter, there's a wonderful backdrop grainy shot of the Arndale in the 60s with a telly showing some of Anthony Wilson's old music programme So It Goes. From there, you can pore over the scribbles, rough designs and varied sources of inspiration that led to some of the most famous record sleeve art ever. New Order, early OMD, Factory posters, the gorgeous Pulp 'This is Hardcore' era sleeves - to name just a few. Seeing how they all came about felt like being allowed into a secret world. He drew inspiration from unexpected things like dried leaves or quirky antique books. We agreed that it made design feel really accessible - in fact I felt really inspired to do a bit more myself.

The background music is also gorgeous, and I found out afterwards that it was specially created by New Order for the exhibit itself. You can buy the cd in the shop afterwards. (I haven't, as I'm trying to be non-shopping for a while... but I'm tempted!)

Anyhow, it's on until April 18th. If you're in town, I can't think of a nicer way to spend an afternoon.

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