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Outside The Wall - Pink Floyd The Wall Italian exhibition Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Povey   
Saturday, 03 August 2013

Outside The Wall exhibition in Padua, ItalyGlenn Povey, founder of Brain Damage Magazine, and highly regarded author of a range of essential Pink Floyd reference books, was recently invited to Italy as a guest speaker at Outside The Wall, a major exhibition focused on the Floyd's 1979 album and subsequent related activities. His exclusive report and great photographs below gives us a summary of the event, in particular his and Gerald Scarfe's appearances.

Organised by Alberto Durgante, Outside The Wall was one of the largest Pink Floyd exhibitions and events ever staged. Held in a prestigious new arts centre of The Hall of the Cultural Center Agora Altinate/San Gaetano in Padova, Alberto and his team notably Gian-Luigi Soldi and Marco Bonecher brought together a stunning collection of artwork, photos, memorabilia and live performance all tied in with Roger Waters' performance of the Wall in Padova on 26th July.

The 16 day exhibit running between 13th and 28th July featured a stunning array of Wall related memorabilia charting the album, original show and tour with ticket stubs, passes, newspaper articles, t-shirts, records and a collection of photos taken by rock photographers Jill Furmanovsky and Pete Still. Coverage also extended to the Berlin Wall concert of 1990, and of course Waters' current staging of the Wall and a vast array of photos supplied by super-fan Simon Wimpenny.

Among exhibits of special interest was an original 1980 Wall show puppet of Pink, which everyone must have had their photo taken with (including its creator, Gerald Scarfe - see below), a collection of original Gerald Scarfe drawings for the film gifted by the artist, and animation cells from the film. A further exhibit was also displayed of photographs taken by David Appleby working behind the scenes in the making of The Wall film.

Italian Pink Floyd cover bands Wit Matrix and Think Floyd performed to a packed theatre within the complex on the 13th and 20th July respectively. David Appleby gave a talk on 13th July, your correspondent a talk on 25th July, and Gerald Scarfe on 26th July.

My talk centred around the books I had written but came to a crashing conclusion when a particularly wild-eyed fan wanted to know who the fan was that Roger Waters had spat at in Montreal in 1977, and got very agitated when I couldn't tell him!

The next day I was fortunate to attend the Gerald Scarfe talk and was fascinated by an account of his early career starting out as a political cartoonist for Private Eye through to the Sunday Times, where he has held a position in excess of 40 years. His animation work began with a BBC commission in 1971 which resulted in the notorious film Long Drawn Out Trip: Sketches From Los Angeles, an 18-minute parody that let rip at every cliché of American life and is best remembered for its depiction of a deranged Richard Nixon and drug-fuelled Mickey Mouse. It was broadcast only the once on BBC TV and promptly withdrawn, but fortunately both Nick Mason and Roger Waters were watching. They called each other and said, in Scarfe's words, "We have to work with this guy, he's fucking mad!" This led to a well documented career with Pink Floyd starting with film sequences for 'Shine On...' and 'Welcome To The Machine' on their 1977 tour through to The Wall and its many variants.

He relayed a particularly touching story of a US soldier, obviously traumatised by war, who had found comfort in listening to The Wall and had his arm tattooed with Scarfe's characters from The Wall. He requested Scarfe's signature and sent him a film of him having this tattooed on his arm, along with his actual Gulf War medal. Scarfe couldn't accept the gift explaining that is was he who was the hero, not him.

Gerald Scarfe fielded many questions from the public ranging from the intelligent to the absurd. However, Scarfe was able to confirm that he had never drawn a picture of three musicians drowning in a cocktail glass for Roger Waters to use on an album cover. He did however say that he had designed a sleeve for the Final Cut, something that still hasn't seen the light of day. I had earlier asked Scarfe if the street artist Banksy had played a role in the designs for Waters version of the current Wall show, but Scarfe denied his direct involvement claiming the images were more an homage to his work.

In all, a very worthwhile and interesting exhibit and one that I certainly hope Alberto and his team repeat in the future.

Outside The Wall - 2013 exhibition. Photo (c) Glenn Povey Outside The Wall - 2013 exhibition. Photo (c) Glenn Povey Outside The Wall - 2013 exhibition. Photo (c) Glenn Povey
Outside The Wall - 2013 exhibition. Photo (c) Glenn Povey Outside The Wall - 2013 exhibition. Photo (c) Glenn Povey Outside The Wall - 2013 exhibition. Photo (c) Glenn Povey
 
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