Mod to Memphis Exhibition


Mod to Memphis Exhibition
Powerhouse Museum presents
Mod to Memphis: design in colour 1960s - 80s
From 8 August 2002


From the swinging 60s to the post modernism of the Italian design group Memphis in the early 80s, colour was used as a vehicle for self-expression, rebellion and for its sheer exuberance. A new exhibition opening at the Powerhouse Museum during Sydney Design Week 2002 - Mod to Memphis: design in colour 1960s - 80s - explores the imaginative and often daring use of colour in the furniture, lighting, textiles and wallpapers from this uniquely innovative period.

Mod, pop, swinging, space age, groovy...the 1960s were years of idealism and radical change. This was also the decade when plastics technology came into its own. Mod to Memphis highlights the colourful and inventive use of plastics in furniture with such iconic designs as Eero Aarnio's yellow, space age 'Globe' chair (1965), Gaetano Pesce's red compressible polyurethane foam 'Up' chair (1969), 'Sacco' the original beanbag (1968), and the unforgettable lipstick red 'lip lounge', known as 'Marilyn', by Studio 65 (1970).

Local designs featured in the exhibition include Grant and Mary Featherston's orange-upholstered 'Expo talking chair' created for the 1967 Montreal Expo, and their orange plastic 1971 'Poli lounge'. Complimenting the 1960s furniture are vibrant printed textiles by the renowned Finnish company Marimekko and striking wallpaper designs by Australian Florence Broadhurst.

Featuring objects drawn from the Museum's outstanding 20th century design collection, the exhibition also covers the arrival of post-modernism in design in the early 1980s, pioneered by the innovative work of the Italian design collaborative, Memphis, led by Ettore Sottsass.

In opposition to 20th century modernism's fixation on function over decoration and form over style, Memphis challenged accepted notions of 'good taste' and provocatively embraced ornament and decoration. Colourful and innovative Memphis furniture, lighting and textiles contribute dramatically to the exhibition.

"Mod to Memphis: design in colour 1960s - 80s presents a unique opportunity to experience some of the remarkable design trends from this era, a period which has become an important source of inspiration for many designers today," said decorative arts and design curator, Anne Watson.

In conjunction with Mod to Memphis, a full colour 64-page catalogue authored by curator Anne Watson and illustrating the remarkable designs featured in the exhibition will be published in August 2002. The catalogue will be available for $24.95 RRP from the Powerhouse Museum, Powerhouse Publishing mailorder and good bookstores.

On View:8 August 2002 - March 2003
Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney Australia
Telephone:(02) 9217 0111 or infoline (02) 9217 0444
Internet:www.phm.gov.au
Hours:10.00am - 5.00pm every day (closed Christmas Day)
Admission: $10 adult, $3 concession, $3 child and $23 family.
Members, children under five, Australian Senior and
Pensioner cardholders are free.


The exhibition is presented by the Powerhouse Museum as an official event in Sydney Design Week, and supported by the Sydney Morning Herald, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Branch) and the Design Institute Australia (NSW Council).

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