Marking the 20th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s death, this astounding exhibition reveals the obsessive level of genius the great director showed, whether inventing the space age in 2001 or a nightmare in a haunted ski lodge. Stanley Kubrick was fascinated with all aspects of design. He collaborated with the leading designers of his generation, from Hardy Amies to Saul Bass, Philip Castle, Eliot Noyes, Milena Canonero, and Ken Adam to create costumes, film posters, props and sets for some of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. Here’s a glimpse of what you will be able to see inside the exhibition…
As you move along the exhibition, it takes you from one movie to another with movie props, photographs of the movie set, snippets of each film as well as all sorts of behind-the-scene creative process of manuscripts, drawings and design - all of them give viewers a glimpse of his obsessive attention to detail of a relentless perfectionist - and the below drawings of one of ‘The Shining’ sets is a good example of that. On the drawings, there are labels with Kubrick’s notes explaining exactly how he wanted the curving path through the snow to appear in that shot: “THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO DO IT, REPEAT NO OTHER WAY. Exercise the greatest care as the compositional effect of a different path might be BAD BAD BAD.”
As you move on to 2001: A Space Odyssey discover how Kubrick developed the incredible Centrifuge set which represented a mechanical way of producing artificial gravity for long-duration space missions. I also found out how Kubrick intended to enhance the sense of believability through familiarity, using a prodigious amount of product placement in 1980, from a Pan Am space shuttle to an Orbiter Hilton Hotel and an IBM tablet. He also had a keen eye of the latest contemporary design and technology, and often exploited its seductive power on film - “There is a sexiness to beautiful machines,” he said, “the smell of a Nikon, the feel of an Italian sports car or a beautiful tape recorder.”
One of the funny thing I also found from the show was the immense trouble that Kubrick went to, in order to avoid travelling, as he was scared of flying, so the vast majority of his films were shot in the UK - he even had to recreate the whole Manhattan set from “Eyes Wide Shut” in London.
Having been a long-time fan of his notable work “The Shining”, one of the horror movies you watched as a kid and still find it terrifying to this date, this show has made me appreciate his work to a whole new level - from his creative vision, choice of music, movie set, costume to each line of the script - no doubt a perfectionist genius!