We all know that Dylan is one of the World’s great songwriters but how many of us knew that he’s also a very accomplished painter, illustrator and sculptor? A new exhibition, currently running at London’s Halcyon Gallery, brings Dylan’s wider artistic output to a wider audience. This isn’t the first time that Dylan’s art has been put on show but what makes this exhibition different is that it is aimed squarely at the fan of Dylan the musician.
The exhibition features some of Dylan’s best known lyrics, hand written by the writer himself and then illustrated with his own pencil drawings. This is a particularly appropriate exhibition given Dylan’s receipt of the Nobel Prize for Literature back in 2016 – the first musician to be awarded the prize in recognition of “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” This exhibition gives us the chance to examine those poetic expressions in his own handwriting and illustrated in his own, unique way. And there are some surprises here for the hard-line Dylan fan; these may not be the lyrics you recognise! In preparing the exhibits for Mondo Scripto, Dylan has updated and re-imagined some of his lyrics – for example, ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ and “‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ have both been revised for this exhibition but the Dylan scholar will find other changed lines here and there, if they look closely enough.
Accompanying the lyrics and drawings are a few examples of Dylan’s paintings along with some of his industrial sculptures. He really has produced some excellent artistic work beyond the music we all know him for and this is a great opportunity to see a little of it.
The Mondo Scripto Exhibition runs at the Halcyon Gallery until the end of November. Entry to the exhibition is free.