Monday, 8 September 2014

Ivan Chermayeff Exhibition at Bexhill-On-Sea

Heaven, heaven is a place where nothing, nothing ever happens, as David Byrne once sang. You can interpret that two ways; Heaven as a dull realm populated by uninteresting people, or a peaceful place of eternal rest.

Bexhill-on-Sea on a warm sunny day felt like heaven compared to our everyday city environment. It felt like the kind of place where nothing much happened and that suited us fine. Judging by the average age of others there, it also looked like the kind of place people retire to before passing on to the mythical land called Heaven. Perhaps that's no bad thing, to while away your final years by the sea. There's an amusement arcade near the front, or at least, an old building wearing an 'Amusements' sign. It looked as if no-one had been amused there for years.

We went there for the Ivan Chermayeff exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion, which was built in 1935 and designed by Chermayeff''s father, Serge, along with Erich Mendelsohn. To call it a great building would be an understatement. It's also a contradiction, this temple of Modernism in a little town which feels anything but modern. It is everything Bexhill is not; shiny, slick, handsome, reborn as fresh as the day it was made.

Here are some photos we took of the main staircase.

The Chermayeff exhibition was most enjoyable, comprising of posters, album sleeves, magazine covers and best of all, collages he made for fun. Business-wise, he designed for Mobil amongst others as part of the cool graphic art/business/Mad men era - you know, when everyone smoked, read Playboy and indulged in the golden age of consumerism guilt-free. Yes, everyone. Except the Beatniks.

In the film they ran in one room Chermayeff says he always preferred scissors to a paint brush. That resonated with me.

They had a table set up for visitors to make their own collages... we did...

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