Talk of the town – Art, Battersea Power Station

Nick Mason and Penny Smith PICTURE: Battersea Power Station’s Village Hall

Pink Floyd drummer and founder member Nick Mason made a rare public appearance as he returned to Battersea Power Station, the setting of the band’s Animals album cover, on the 40th anniversary of its release.

Mason spoke of his delight at being back in front of the four chimneys, each now rebuilt and painted as part of the regeneration of the area.  The sticks man was guest of honour at a Battersea Power Station’s new multi-use arts venue created with Battersea Arts Centre, The Village Hall, where a photography exhibition inspired by the power station is being held from until Sunday.

He was joined by broadcaster and journalist Penny Smith and by Pink Floyd fans who got a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the UK’s most loved bands. Visions of Battersea Power Station is a exhibition by photographer, Adrian Houston, who has photographed the Princess of Wales, the Dalai Lama and Luciano Pavarotti.

Mason reminisced about the moment the giant inflatable pig, which was tethered to one of the power station’s chimneys for the famous photoshoot, broke free from its moorings and was spotted by startled airline pilots at 30,000 feet before finally making it back to the ground, with help from police helicopters in Kent.

A giant inflatable pig flies above Battersea Power Station on the banks of the river Thames in central London, during a recreation of the cover of the Pink Floyd album ‘Animals’ – released 35 years ago – to celebrate the release of ‘Why Pink Floyd’, a digitally remastered box set of all 14 Pink Floyd studio albums.

He said: “It was one of those moments you just can’t predict. Needless to say, I’m pleased the pig made it back to earth in one piece.

“I’m delighted to be back at Battersea Power Station 40 years after that photoshoot and it’s great to see the place coming to life with restaurants, shops and venues. I’m pleased to have been a part of its history and can’t wait to see what its future holds.”

Rob Tincknell, chief executive of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “It’s great to welcome Nick Mason back to Battersea Power Station. “Battersea has, over the years, become a huge cultural icon, not only appearing on the Animals album cover, but featuring in all sorts of popular culture from The King’s Speech film to Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage in the 1930s.

From left, Nick Mason, Penny Smith and Adrian Houston. PICTURE: Battersea Power Station’s Village Hall

“We are also delighted to be hosting a fantastic exhibition by Adrian Houston. His work captures the power station in all its glory, with the artworks even containing actual pieces of the building’s structure, including the original chimneys.

“We hope lots of people will come down and check out the free exhibition and also visit the new restaurants and shops that have opened at Circus West Village.”

Houston, said: “It was in 2000 that I was commissioned by Guy Laliberté, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, to photograph Battersea Power Station. The resulting images have always been very special to me, with one of the very first, Through the Wall, selected for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.

To host this retrospective in the building itself, now being restored to its former glory, is very poignant.”

Visions of Battersea Power Station is open from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. It is free to attend.

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