I’d been wanting to get to The World of Charles and Ray Eames exhibition for ages so when a window presented itself yesterday, LM and I hopped on a train and whizzed down to The Barbican. The Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith Line were all up the spout, so we took the Northern Line to Moorgate, which was pretty much the same walking distance away from The Barbican than Barbican station itself…
I knew very little about this husband and wife team before attending this exhibition, apart from the fact that they designed and created the most gorgeous chairs… I actually thought that Charles and Ray were brothers! So when I discovered that Ray was in fact a foxy lady and the love of Charles’ life, I was even more intrigued to learn more.
The Eameses are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Probably best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fibreglass furniture – these are the images that immediately sprang to mind for me. However, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys.
Much of their other work and the impact it had has been less widely understood, and this exhibition certainly filled in some of these gaps.
Bringing together over 380 works, the exhibition presents the world of Charles and Ray Eames through objects, artefacts, scribbles and projects produced during their lifetime…and it is the bits and pieces from their personal collections which really made the exhibition so very extra special for me.
Above and beyond all the amazing furniture, design and photography they created together, was their unashamedly, absolute and all encompassing love for each other.
Charles had been married before and just one month after his divorce, he and Ray were married… this was mentioned but isn’t explored in this exhibition, so I’m sure there is a story or two there which I’ll learn about another day.
This exhibition however, is like a giant love letter from them both to each other, with doodles of hearts, sweet illustrations, proposals of marriage and letters of ‘I miss you x x x x’, trumping the fewer practical messages of ‘we have received our letter blocks back from the printers…’
These two creative geniuses were unexpectedly romantic, silly, naive and innocent in a time where they were having an enormous impact on significant events in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age.
I absolutely loved it – it’s extensive, detailed and actually, quite magical.
It seems fitting that the closing date is Valentine’s day 2016, so you still have a bit of time to get a bit loved up with those clever Eameses.
Happy New Year’s Eve Eve!
2016 is just around the corner ;)
If this has whet your whistle, you might fancy seeing this trailer for ‘EAMES: The Architect and The Painter’