Pink Floyd set aside rift for French exhibition

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Pink Floyd, the British rock icons of the 1960s and 1970s, will be celebrated in an exhibition in Paris which has partially mended a 20-year rift between the group's founding members.

The exhibition, "Pink Floyd Interstellar", will be inaugurated by the French Culture Minister, Jean-Jacques Aillagon tomorrow, and opens to the public at the Cité de la Musique on Friday. The organiser of the three-month event, Emma Lavigne, a curator at the Paris Museum of Music, said the exhibition would "pay tribute to the important contribution of Pink Floyd to the musical history of the 20th century". The group remains hugely popular in France, outselling the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

Mme Lavigne said the exhibition would try to trace the "enormous musical influence of Pink Floyd, on both popular and contemporary, classical music".

She said that they were the first group to make "creative bridges", and start a dialogue between rock and classical music from the late 1960s. With their early work with synthesisers, they had explored "sound collages" and "invented completely new sounds".

She said the exhibition had the full support of the existing members of the group and its founder, Roger Waters, who left Pink Floyd 20 years ago after a quarrel which has never been resolved.

Mme Lavigne said that this was the first time in two decades that Waters had agreed to support a project which also involved his former colleagues, the drummer Nick Mason, pianist Rick Wright and guitarist David Gilmour.

Steve O'Rourke, manager of the group for 30 years, has also helped and will attend the opening party. Storm Thorgeson, the "artistic director" of Pink Floyd, has designed the exhibition. "It would be wrong to talk of a reconciliation," Mme Lavigne said.

"As far as I know, they have not actually spoken to one another but they have all agreed to help us, providing both information and objects.

"Both Mr Waters and the present band members agree that this is an important project on the history of the group. To that extent, we hope that it may have helped to bring them a little closer together."

The exhibition, at one of the most prestigious musical sites in the French capital, will display for the first time a 16-page manuscript written by another of the founders of the group, Syd Barrett, who has been in mental institutions suffering from schizophrenia since 1968.

The manuscript, entitled Fart Enjoy and described by Mme Lavigne as a "precious document", contains words and drawings which show some of the early influences on Pink Floyd.

Also on display will be instruments used by the group, from the gong used in the introduction to "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", to the ground-breaking synthesiser used in their celebrated album, The Dark Side Of The Moon.