Moonraker, Strangelove and other Celluloid Dreams: the Visionary Art of Ken Adam

Serpentine South Gallery 17 November 1999 — 9 January 2000 Free

The Serpentine Gallery broke new ground in an exhibition on the BAFTA and Oscar-winning film production designer, Ken Adam, among whose films are the James Bond series (1962 to 1979), Dr Strangelove, Sleuth and Addam’s Family Values.

Curated by David Sylvester, this was the first exhibition in Britain, in a publicly funded art gallery, devoted solely to a film production designer. The show focused on 29 projects, concentrating almost exclusively on Adam’s designs for the cinema, with the exception of two great operas, namely Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.

Central to this presentation was a compilation of film extracts that were selected for their tremendous visual impact. However, the entrance to the exhibition instantly immersed viewers in Adam’s world. It was his idea that the South Rooms should give visitors a real sense of one of his most remarkable film-set designs. By extending his original drawing for the Dr Strangelove War Room so that its proportions matched the gallery’s when it was enlarged from floor to ceiling, and by surrounding it with enlarged photographic stills of the set, he created a Pentagon-on-the-Park.


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