Project Description

The Kinks: Photographs and Artefacts. 

For many months now, we been hunting high and low to unearth a collection of Kinks photographs and other artworks for your viewing pleasure. In this landmark exhibition we gather together, for the first time, work by photographers Bruce Fleming, Val Wilmer, Bent Rej, Dezo Hoffmann, Mike Leale and Barrie Wentzell, all of whom captured The Kinks at the peak of their powers in a golden period from 1964 to 1968. The exhibition also includes work by contemporary artists Pete McKee, Morgan Howell, Jonathan Wilkinson and Keith Haynes, all Kinks aficionados, and who have created Kinks inspired pieces in their own inimitable styles. Most of the photographs are being exhibited for the first time.

Ray Davies is one of the UK’s most respected songwriters, and The Kinks made some of the most important music of the 1960s. Their work continues to resonate today. The bio-musical Sunny Afternoon continues its West End run to considerable acclaim, and a recent box set Anthology keeps their music in the public eye, winning new fans and delighting die-hards.

The Kinks themselves have no involvement in this exhibition.

Early sessions

London based photographer Bruce Fleming was the man behind the lens on their first professional shoot, in his London studio, and the exhibition includes images he made in early February 1964, where the band (in common with other groups at that time) wore identical outfits: three piece suits with leather lapels, orange shirts and cuban heels. They wore these suits subsequently for their first appearance, on Friday 7 February 1964, on Ready Steady Go!

You Really Got Me

Behind the scenes photographs from that same year come from Val Wilmer, who shot the band on the afternoon of Friday 31 July 1964, rehearsing ‘You Really Got Me’ for that night’s edition of the Ready Steady Go! TV show.

Dave Davies’ creation of the riff on ‘You Really Got Me’ is the stuff of legend, and is celebrated in a new painting “After the Shock” by Sheffield based artist Jonathan Wilkinson. As Jonathan explains: “I went right back to the birth of The Kinks and indeed ROCK as we know it – the Elpico mini amp that Dave slashed and stabbed in anger and inadvertently invented the distorted sound for “You Really Got Me”. I found some Davies family ciné footage on a documentary so could identify a few reference colours for the walls and floor, and in the painting you can see the razor on the floor after Dave has “modified” the rear speaker cones.”

Hunting jackets and kinky boots

The Kinks cut a distinct on-stage image. Their striking outfits of red hunting jackets and yellow ruffle-fronted shirts certainly distinguished them from their contemporaries, and Danish photographer Bent Rej‘s portraits taken in London in April 1965 record them for posterity, while Dezo Hoffman’s studio portraits of the band show Dave Davies’s magnificent thigh length leather boots.

Behind the scenes

The exhibition includes candid behind the scenes moments, including Val Wilmer photographs of the band rehearsing at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in advance of a UK tour, and Bent Rej travelling with the band on a bus journey in Denmark.

Konvertible Kinks

Other modes of transport are represented in the exhibition. British photographer Mike Leale shot the band in a psychedelic Buick convertible for the cover of their 1967 Sunny Afternoon album, and a rare outtake from the session is included in the exhibition.

Waterloo Sunset

Morgan Howell has painted a supersize three dimensional version of Ray Davies most cherished song, taking an old cherished seven-inch single and reproducing it in an ultra-large-format artwork, incorporating with a 28 inch vinyl disc in a handpainted bag. On the same theme, Pete McKee contributes his inimitable take on “Waterloo Sunset” showing his interpretation of the “Terry meets Julie..” opening line.

Village Green Preservation Society

 The acclaimed 1968 album featured images taken by Barrie Wentzell on Hampstead Heath that Summer, and rare photographs from that session are included in the exhibition.