A collection of newly created handwritten lyrics and drawings of legendary musician Bob Dylan is on display in London ahead of an exhibition in Shanghai next year.
The exhibition Mondo Scripto is being held at the Halcyon Gallery before heading for a tour of Asia, America and Europe, including a stint at Shanghai's Museum of Modern Art, and gives fans a chance to view handwritten lyrics alongside original sketches by the 77-year-old American artist to illustrate the meaning or context of his songs.
"The fact that Dylan has done this is a gift to all of us ... Dylan has taken the care to rewrite, sometimes changing the words, sometimes changing the phraseology and then doing the drawing with them, which allows the individual to make an interpretation, is perhaps one of the most important historic art statements that has ever been made," Paul Green, president of Halcyon Gallery, says
In a career spanning more than six decades, Dylan's masterful lyrics have intrigued and fascinated fans, provoked debate over their meaning, and even earned him the Nobel Prize in literature in 2016, the first time it was awarded to a musician in that category.
"Dylan is fairly cursory about what he does, but if you really look and study the songs, it literally does decode some part of the song. Sometimes it's fairly literal and sometimes it's completely not. And there are some things that are absolute statements on current American society," Green adds.
The exhibition is a treasure trove for Dylan fans, with well-known songs such as The Times They Are A-Changin', Blowin' In the Wind, songs that became anthems for the anti-war and civil rights movements in the United States of the 1960s - and Knockin' on Heaven's Door on display
The influential singer-songwriter is also an author and has created works of art through painting, drawing and sculpting, and Green says a desire to show off this side of his personality was one of the motivations behind the exhibition.
"One of the most important issues in taking a retrospective, in taking his art to China is to once and for all establish him as one of the world's great artists," he says. "Taking the most extensive body of work ever seen to China underpins this."
Mondo Scripto will be shown at Halcyon Gallery from Friday, running through November, and at Shanghai's Museum of Modern Art in May 2019.