BJORK at MoMA: A Poetic Narrative Exhibit of the Multi-Talented Artist

BJORK at MoMA: A Poetic Narrative Exhibit of the Multi-Talented Artist

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.


Black lake

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.

Progression through her evolution reintroduces you to the Airmail jacket, designed by Hussein Chalayan, that Björk wore for her album Post (1995). This jacket was constructed from the same Tyvex- coated paper that actual airmail envelopes were made from.


Also on display were the red leather and Velcro boots, designed by Walter Van Bierendonck, used in her song Hyperballad.


A classic play on emotion and the digital age, the white robots from her film “All is Full of Love” give insight to Björk’s take on what defines sensuality. 


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. 

Worn in the 2004 video Who is it?, the Alexander McQueen designed Bell Dress was beautifully highlighted by red suspended lighting,  further magnifying the intricacy in his artistry.


A bold statement from Björk’s seventh studio album Volta (2007), this colorful and almost cartoonistic look provided an interjection of playfulness into the mix.


Björk wore the Swarovski crystal-encrusted mask to a Fashion Rocks benefit show at the Royal Albert Hall in 2003, where she presented in memory of the designer Lee Alexander McQueen.


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.

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