Saturday, November 3, 2012

Memphis Design 1980's Style ::: National Gallery Of Victoria

Recently I went to the NGV and laughed at myself when I came across these perfect examples of Memphis Design. The movement was at its height during the 1980's it was seen everywhere and I loved it. I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven if owned this chair and book shelf. To me they epitomise the look. Colourful, restrained yet gaudy, childish yet intelligent, functional art.
'First Chair' by Michele De Lucchi 1983. Bookshelf 'The King' by Ettore Sottsass 1981.

Memphis design exploded onto and into every facet of design - it was like a showbag 
vomited on everything; fashion, restaurants, nightclubs, music clips and every available 
page and design element imaginable. I still have some very lurid giant earrings that I
covet that are true to the design aesthetic.

As I continued through the gallery musing on the direct evidence and influence of
Bauhaus and Mid century design that led to Memphis I came across the following
pieces that are way off the mark in the timeline and were clearly anomalies at their
time - that scream 80's Memphis Design to me. I found it quite interesting and thought
I would share. 
The details of this mirror simply read : England manufacturer 1810

This mirror looks every bit an 1980's spectacular.

Christopher DRESSER designer Tea service 1879

Christoper DRESSER designer Letter rack 1881
The ball elements and sense of scale on the silverware above are 100% Memphis
to me.

Joseph CSAKY Abstract sculpture 1919 cast 1960 3/6
Although this sculpture does have some deco feel it could just have easily sat in an
80's Memphis theme.

Barbara HEPWORTH Eidos 1947
This gorgeous piece almost crosses over to pop art and sits on the fence, mid century/Memphis?
Jacob EPSTEIN Sunflower 1912-13
Classic sunburst element here. 

I also came across this stunning portrait simply entitled Girl in Black I found her image 
completely compelling and very intriguing, interestingly I thought she would be 
amazing during any decade. Her hair and clothing could be reflective of so many eras.

Gerald leslie BROCKHURST Girl in Black 1930's

Style and design can definitely transcend time and peal throughout the global consciousness in a seemingly erratic way filtering through again and again during different times and trends, like a beautiful key aesthetic that wont go away.

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