On March 8th, the highly anticipated Björk retrospective, curated by Klaus Biesenbach, premiered at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Drawing from over 20 years of her iconically diverse career, the Björk exhibit seamlessly melds together raw and industrial instrumental components with some of her most notable sartorial moments—resulting in a captivating and emotional sensory experience.
The entrance into the retrospective offers a stripped down and beautifully serene presentation of the instruments used throughout Björk’s 2011 album Biophilia. Between the swinging pendulum of the Tesla coil and gravity harp or tunings of the gameleste and pipe organ, this portion of the exhibit allows you to be completely immersed in the songs in an interactional yet observational way.
As you step into the video and sound installation Black Lake, titled after the song from her newest album Vulnicura, you are immediately drawn into her narrative. The intense imagery and sound of Black Lake is further brought to life by designer Iris Van Herpen.
Iris is widely known for her collaborative stance on fashion, combining classic couture techniques with modern influences of art and science. During the ten minute long music and film journey, Van Herpen’s custom designed dresses partner perfectly with Björk’s signature sound.
The second portion of the Floor 2 retrospective, allows you to experience all of Björk’s music videos ranging from Debut (1993) to Biophilia (2011).
Perhaps the most significant part of the entire retrospective, the Songlines exhibit walks you through the evolution of Björk’s entire body of work using a combination of interactive location- based audio, objects, images, and narrative from acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón. The experience starts off with photographs, stories, and notes of Björk as a young girl, which then transitions into a figurine of Björk modeled after the iconic cover image of her Debut (1993) album.
The Swan Dress by Marjan Pejoski, which made its debut at the 73rd annual Academy Awards on March 25, 2001, could be described as Björk’s most infamous look amongst mainstream audiences.
The finale of Songlines once again solidified the relationship between Björk and designer Iris Van Herpen. This magnificent and slightly otherworldly fashion look, created out of blue plastic and worn throughout Björk’s Biophilia tour, effortlessly captures the symbiosis between the two creative geniuses.