De La Warr Pavilion: Towards an alternative history of graphic design: Suck, POP, bRIAN, Assembling

Now then, this exhibition was really energising as you can see below by the photos! Where am I? At the De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill. What's it about? It's one room lined with disassembled material from four lo-fi magazines from the 60s and 70s and put together by Fraser Muggeridge. It's a sort of alternative graphic design history, collated from various sources of highly experimental but less formally trained groups and individuals.

This room could be viewed as a whole piece or you can look more closely at the art and writing which I did for quite a while...before I started leaping around. And why did it have this effect on me? Well, it energised me I suppose. It's so rare to see this kind of material these days, as Muggeridge says: "In today's world, it's relatively straightforward to do something that looks kind of good, clean and nice. InDesign is so sophisticated it almost does it all for you." I agree with what he says and I believe this cleanliness is affecting more than just graphic design.

On three sides the wall is lined with quirky and amusing concrete poetry, text, typoems and rough and ready graphic visuals which are humorous and playful. You can get the idea from the picture below. There are also four table top displays showing various collected material.

Out of the four magazines featured I was delighted to find out that one called bRIAN and another called The Hardy Annual were produced in the same college I did my Foundation course: Watford School of Art. The German printer, artist and publisher Hansjörg Mayer once taught there, encouraging his students to push the limits of what could be possible with printing and embracing the notion chance. Using the offset printing plates as covers, bRIAN was a publication which Mayer produced with his students whilst teaching at Watford in the 1960s and can see an example of the Hardy Annual below...I only wish I'd been at that college earlier!

This unusual but rewarding exhibition is on until 4 October 2015 if you want to check it out. 

Bexhill and the De La Warr Pavilion is a really good day out where you can combine art with the seaside but unlike Margate (see my post) it is quiet and low-key. I love the pavilion, it is such a stunningly beautiful building and perfectly suited to showing art. It's really pleasant sitting out and having lunch on the terrace especially on a sunny day; it's a bit pricey but the exhibitions are free.

In addition, there was an exhibition of Bridget Riley's curve paintings too (1961 -2004). In contrast I found her paintings cold and impersonal and this feeling was enhanced by the room being overly air-conditioned. Op Art is not one of my favourite styles anyway but her works do produce some extreme optical effects to such an extent that I started to feel a bit queazy. This one was very busy indeed and made me go quite cross-eyed.

Crest 1964

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