There are two ways to view the new Eames show at the Barbican: nerd-out, or as idealised model for living
The Barbican is previewing its new exhibition today, The World of Charles and Ray Eames.
There’s two ways of viewing it: as a total design nerd-out, or an idealised model for living.
Let’s start with the nerd-out.
An experimental three-legged chair from 1945.
Cross-hatch textile by Ray Eames, designed 1945.
This experimental prototype for a fibreglass chair shell was manufactured by John Wills, a Californian fibreglass fabricator. He produced two, and tested them by setting them on a metal bin. Charles Eames could only afford to buy one of the prototypes, so Wills kept the other, and used it as is.
Fibreglass chair shells, 1959-68.
Low Table Rod base, 1950.
And so I could continue.
Concurrent is their attitude to life and living.
One feeds the other.
A letter proposing marriage from Charles to Ray.
The Eames Office designed them, and organised the display.
Often borrowing work from galleries.
Here’s an image of the showroom with a Giacometti.
Giacometti has been on my mind all week, since the opening of the new show at the National Portrait Gallery.
In a show where his attitude to women is implied, but not explicitly discussed.
He subjected women – his wife Annette, his model Caroline, many prostitutes – to psychological attack.
His was not a life of equality.
However extraordinary the work, he was not modern. At a time of change.
Giacometti was a contemporary of Charles and Ray Eames.
This show confirms that then, there was already another world.
Go go go.