After its disappearance and return, vinyl is unquestionably once again part of our relationship with music. VinylesMania sets out to reveal what defines our rediscovered attachment to vinyl records, and to tour the globe in images of the women and men who bring them to life, from manufacturers to collectors by way of jacket designers and record shops. VinylesMania also relates legends and stories around this almost magic medium, including some fine, emotional moments.
VinylesMania is dedicated to Vaughan Oliver (1957-2019), designer of record sleeves and other visuals whose textured, mysterious approach, at the same time typographical and iconic, remains one of the most enchanting styles of the 20th century.
VinylesMania exhibition - October 1, 2020 to August 29, 2021
In the first six months of 2019 vinyl record sales in America amounted to 224.1 million dollars with 8.6 million items sold, as against slightly under 250 million dollars for CDs. Rock music accounts for over 40% of sales, with the great classics much in evidence; Rap represents 6.6% and R’n’B achieved 7.9% of sales. In France, 3.5 million vinyl records were sold in 2018.
Secrets of manufacture
VinylesMania draws a parallel between vinyl production and printing, plays on the harmony between music and graphic art, and opens the doors to two pressing shops and a research studio
- Record Industry of Harlem (Netherlands), 50.000 discs per day, where the British photographer Alastair Philip Wiper has taken some amazing shots of the manufacturing process,
- the Manufacture des vinyles, (Haute-Savoie department, France), which specializes in the development of 22 rpm discs for independent music labels,
- Magma Studio (Lyon), which started research into vinyl records in 2015 and will be offering public workshops during the exhibition.
Tales of vinyl
VinylesMania turns back the pages of history, looking at some of the legends surrounding vinyl in sounds and images: the logo of His Master's Voice; the battle between disco and rock during Disco Demolition Night (1979); the birth of the first « real » record sleeves designed by Alex Steinweiss for Columbia Records in 1939; the work of Paula Sher, one of the first women to design sleeves. Opportunities for the visitor to dive into the records in the collection of DJ Frankie Knuckles, or into the depths of Paradise Garage was home to the musical style of the same name and, very close to us, the metaphoric modeling of the graffiti artist Kesa from Lyon.
Portraits of diggers
They search everywhere, looking for nuggets. These passionate discoverers of lost discs show visitors their pieces: Christian Biral ("in high school, I would always carry a bag of records in my hands"); Fabien Vandamme with a recording from 1860 (17 years before the invention of the phonograph), made audible in 2008. Lyon Municipal Library holds a major collection of records of noise. An emotional touch in the archives of photographer Zoë Timmers who put together in 2013 a filmed portrait of her father, seriously ill, surrounded by his discs. The « vinyl mania » will perhaps be heightened by the shortage resulting from the recent fire at the Californian factory which had a monopoly on 80% of the primary material needed to produce black discs.
33 revolutions… of the earth
Africa is being honoured this year with the Africa 2020 project at the Institut Français. VinylesMania is paying tribute to the musical energy of the African continent, thanks to Sofa Records, a Lyon record-shop specializing in world music, and to the journalist Rachel Clara Reed who has taken photographs of the world of Jimmy, the owner of an unclassifiable record-stall right in the middle of the Kenyatta market in Nairobi. VinylesMania also takes us to a country where vinyl does not exist, South Korea, where it is almost totally absent from the shops and from the music scene. We travel on to Jerusalem where Emahoy Teague-Maryam, a 96-year-old Ethiopian pianist and composer, lives as a nun; we see her in a short appreciation beautifully filmed by Omar Gefen in 2015.
Surprising sleeves, with Lyon BD Festival
The French Ministry of Culture has declared 2020 "the year of the strip cartoon". A further incentive to explore the links between vinyl records and strip cartoons, often good bedfellows. In a third partnership between Lyon BD Festival and VinylesMania fifteen cartoon artists have been invited to design the record covers of their dreams, which will be displayed at the Fnac Lyon/Bellecour.