Without its cover, an album is just a black vinyl disc. But, with its cover, it becomes something magical that captures our eyes and turns music into something more. Everybody knows what they are, which is why Total Records at C/O Berlin is such an interesting exhibition.
You don’t need to close your eyes to remember four guys walking in a crosswalk, a baby underwater trying to catch a dollar bill, a yellow banana…
For me, this exhibition was beyond amazing. I say that because I grew up in those years between CDs becoming mainstream and vinyl leaving the scene. I remember my family record collection, filled with big album covers. That had an impact on me.
This is a huge one since I blame those records as the entry point to my career as a designer. The combination of music, photography, and design is one of the reasons why I am the person I am today.
That is why I loved Total Records so much.
Total Records: The Art of Vinyl & Photography at C/O Berlin
Total Records combines lesser-known album covers with classic ones and uses them to trace music and photography through the twentieth century.
Total Records also changed its focus to famous collaborations that emerged through the years, like Anton Corbijn and U2, Annie Leibovitz and Cindy Lauper, Helmut Newton, and INXS.
Never forget visual artists and designers who left their mark on this art, like Dieter Roth and Andy Warhol.
The Art of Vinyl & Photography is divided into different thematic sections where different aspects of this art form are explored. One of these sections shows musicians trying to translate their music into a visual medium.
Another one shows how influential some of these covers can be and how they ended up being “covered” by other artists. There is also a section focused on those album covers that were considered too provocative for the public and were censored.
But my favorite thing about album covers is when they become bigger than the music and are used as instruments of political force.
C/O Berlin will be hosting Total Records: The Art of Vinyl & Photography from December 2016 to the end of April 2017. I was there in early January, and we loved it so much that we needed to write an article about it.