in Brussels, a monumental exhibition for the rocker

Johnny Hallyday embodies excess. The exhibition dedicated to him in Brussels five years after his death and which will be presented in Paris in January 2024 reflects the spectacular charisma of the favorite rocker of the French. In an exhibition space in the shape of a guitar of nearly 3,000 square meters, it took two years to be set up, on the initiative of his last wife Laeticia, by the company Tempora, for a cost that would approach 12 million euros.

“I was happy when he spoke, when he was silent, when he sang. I was happy when he was there…” It is the voice of his friend Jean Reno who will tell visitors the story of the seventy-four years of Johnny’s overexposed life from this Tuesday, December 20. On an unprecedented scale, the exhibition reconciles its monumental aspects through an emotional bias. We will find there the places of life of the artist, from his Parisian bedroom as a teenager with his Elvis records pinned to the wall to the office in which he died in his house in Marnes-la-Coquette on December 5, 2017 , with also a Europe 1 studio reproducing the decor of the program “Salut les buddies” from its debut.

Sixty stage costumes, fifty guitars…

The project, framed by Benoît Remiche, boss of Tempora, is to show “a major social and cultural phenomenon of our time” around a profusion of objects. From the most public, like the emblematic album covers, posters and magazine covers, to the most personal, his “rocker’s cross” that Johnny had created himself featuring Jesus on the cross with an electric guitar.

Sixty gleaming stage costumes (by Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier), fifty guitars (including an acoustic Jacobacci, a Gibson Firebird, an electric James Trussart…), three Harley-Davidsons, an AC Cobra convertible … The scenographer Clémence Farrell, already in charge of the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2015, has built a course in twelve stages which she addresses “to the fans but also to people who don’t like Johnny”.

Laeticia Hallyday, for her part, claims a “multisensory and emotional approach”which gives pride of place to immersions in the great concerts of the rocker, to video and film screenings (with a cinema), and above all to listening to his so familiar music and his flamboyant voice. “I fed on everything I learned at his side, she explains, of his sense of detail, of the show, of the spectacle and his disproportionate ambition for his audience. »


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