- Words Miriam Balanescu
The UK’s first major retrospective on Amy Winehouse’s musical impact will be hosted by London’s Design Museum.
With a flood of events in recognition of Amy Winehouse’s vast impact on the musical world, now a decade after her death, the Design Museum in London is the latest to follow suit.
Titled ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’, the exhibition will delve into Winehouse’s role as a “music intellectual”. The Gordon Hill-legend’s “legacy and creativity” will be celebrated with personal items, invaluable archival materials which reveal her creative and recording process, a deep-dive into her aesthetic, and, finally, an immersive exhibit. It will be the first exhibition in the UK to dig into Winehouse’s musicianship and artistry.
Winehouse’s teenage notebooks, handwritten lyrics, and first electric guitar (a blue Fender Stratocaster which was used in the creation of her debut album ‘Frank’) will be showcased. The exhibition will include an installation by artist Chiara Stephenson inspired by the Metropolis studio where Winehouse recorded. ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ promises invaluable insight into how Winehouse wrote and recorded her landmark album ‘Back to Black’.
Nods to Winehouse’s iconic style will not be amiss, with her red Moschino bag and 2007 Brit Awards’ yellow Preen dress, along with other emblematic items, also on display.
Finally, an immersive tour by Studio Moross will literally bring Winehouse’s legacy to life, animating key materials relating to her recording process and with an artificially created model of the musician herself.
Separate rooms will piece together the various parts of Winehouse’s creative life. The exhibition was announced on 14th September, the day that would have been the venerated artist’s birthday.
Priya Khanchandani, the Design Museum’s head of curatorial, has said: “It felt like there was something that had been left unsaid about Amy’s story and about her as a serious musician – the way she’d been reflected in the media had really diminished her legacy. There’s a lot of noise surrounding her story that has engulfed it and I’ve been trying to pick away at the layers, and make sure we tell the right story.”
Winehouse’s friend and stylist Naomi Perry first approached the Design Museum about the proposed retrospective and has been instrumental in bringing it to completion: “I was determined to make an exhibition about Amy happen because I had seen first-hand how she became a global icon. When I approached the museum to realise this ambition they immediately understood that looking at Amy through her creative legacy would create an unforgettable exhibition experience.”
“Often the portrayal of Amy is focused on the negative aspects of her life, while this exhibition will take visitors through all that she achieved and highlight the incredible mark that she left on the lives of her fans all around the world.”
She added: “I hope this is the definitive narrative and that it gives her younger audience the opportunity to experience her, because they’re never going to see her on stage.”
A stage musical and a biopic of Winehouse are also on the way to mark the anniversary of Winehouse’s death. Already in celebration of the Jewish artist this year, a pivotal documentary Reclaiming Amy has aired on BBC One.
‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ will be open from 26th November. Tickets are available here.