Memory Lane: Nirvana Exhibition London 2011

A year ago Brick Lane, London hosted a really neatly done exhibition consisting of relics from the sainted Kurt Cobain, photographs, a showing of the (then) not-quite-released Live at the Paramount film and even an anorak/hoody that used to belong to the man.

I made a special trip across town to catch it (and foolishly ended up sinking cash in the record shop across the street too) and strolled a while. It was a moderate sized gallery space with an upper mezzanine floor. Very classy, typical Brick Lane combination of trash/flash.

My major problem was knowing how to react to it all. Standing in front of Kurt Cobain’s hoody I wondered if I was meant to feel a proximity to the man himself, or to appreciate his ordinariness, or take it as a clear statement that he was gone and these remnants were in some way feeble. A shard from a guitar made me think of medieval pilgrims travelling miles to touch alleged chunks of Christ’s cross. The organizers had done a great job, the back room was packed with people watching the concert on a big screen, people meandered studying the photos…

…And I left. The problem was me. I admired the photography, it was nice to see the posters and other pieces…I still felt like I often do at art exhibitions, slightly blank. I seem to need a story line presented, a context given underneath/alongside an image or sculpted item before I can connect.


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