On a wet and windy Sunday in Colchester I dropped by the new Firstsite Arts Centre with the intention of drying off and snatching a hot tea, but as I began to explore I found an unexpected gem of a show.
In a quiet Essex backwater in 1954, a design collaboration between artists Nigel Hendersen and Eduardo Paolozzi was about to declare war on interior design. Although brief, their venture produced a selection of gutsy, new wave designs embracing the new ‘brutalist’ movement under the aptly named workshop, Hammer Prints. They moved away from the safe, grey, post war era with works that showed imaginative, bold mark making and stark, inventive use of colour. Using their knowledge of photography and silk screening, images have been collated, copied and distorted creating patterns over a range of applications from wall paper to textiles and china wear. Early notes stated, “it is the objective of Hammer Prints that an attack be made on the craft field using the silk-screen as the media to be exploited.”
Designs reflected their interest in science and technology and identified with international developments such as abstract Expressionism and Pop art, mass production and the technology of the day. So if like me, you’re a fan of 50s design you’ll be in for a treat.
Nigel Henderson & Eduardo Paolozzi – Hammer Prints Ltd.
Until Sunday 24th February 2013 at:
Essex CO1 1JH
01206 577 067
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