Saturday, 18 May 2019

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

Kubrick on set of 2001: A Space Odyssey © Warner Bros Entertainment Inc
It’s 20 years since the death of Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century and London’s Design Museum is celebrating his achievements with a major exhibition that explores his unique command of the whole creative design process of film-making, from story teller to director and editor.

Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on set of The Shining ©Warner Bros Entertainment Inc

He was known as a perfectionist, and wanted to control every aspect of his productions. This is evident at the very start of the exhibition, where the preparations for his Napoleon project, a film that never got made because of the cost, are recorded. During his research he logged every day in the emperor’s life, creating a card catalogue of the places and deeds of Napoleon’s inner circle. You also see it displayed in the meticulous way he recreated in the studios the facade of the Oregon Hotel for The Shining, and his comments on proposals for posters advertising that film, including: “I don’t like the dots for the logo. It will not look good small.”

Dr Strangelove - The Conference Table in the War Room ©Sony/Columbia Picture Industries Inc
In all, there are some 700 artefacts including props, photos, storyboards, and even cameras and lenses, with notes on which films they were used for. Each of his major films has its own section.

A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell in the Korova Milkbar ©Warner Bros Entertainment Inc
It’s a trip down memory lane. A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Dr Strangelove, Spartacus, Lolita, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket and, of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey are all there, with pivotal segments shown in mini-cinemas (with very welcome seats). It all makes for a detailed and rewarding exhibition, and is a fitting tribute to Kubrick's genius. You'll find it hard to tear yourself away.
2001: A Space Odyssey still image ©Warner Bros Entertainment Inc
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition. At the Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W86AG to Sept 15 2019. Admission £16 (concessions available).

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