|Dirk Bogarde in MODESTY BLAISE|
Pop artists commented on the cult of celebrity, commodity fetishism and the proliferation of media that permeated everyday life in America and the United Kingdom after the Second World War. Radically departing from all that had gone before, artists delighted in adopting the design language of advertising, television and commerce to create work that was playful but often also intentionally irreverent and provocative. In turn, designers routinely looked to Pop Art as a constant source of inspiration. Pop Art Design paints a new picture of Pop – one that recognises the central role played by design.
Bringing together more than 200 works by over 70 artists and designers, the exhibition includes iconic and lesser known works by such artists as Peter Blake, Pauline Boty, Judy Chicago, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Joe Tilson and Andy Warhol, shown alongside objects by Achille Castiglioni, Charles and Ray Eames, Peter Murdoch, George Nelson, Gaetano Pesce and Ettore Sottsass. Pop Art Design also presents a wealth of graphic material from posters and magazines to album sleeves, as well as film,photography, and documentation of Pop interors and architecture.
The Barbican's last Pop Art in the Movies season was several years ago now, nice to see some of these back again.
With its multi-layered meanings and rich colour symbolism, this is a hypnotic and provocative film that questions the idea that 'the camera never lies'. With evocative use of the London locations, a fabulous score by Herbie Hancock, and appearances by such 60s luminaries as Verushka, Jill Kennington and Jane Birkin.
Adapted from the popular comic strip stories, Modesty Blaise is at once a screwball comedy, a spoof on '60s spy films, and a pastiche of numerous other cinematic styles. With its fabulous Pop art set designs, the years have treated it kindly; it remains an irresistible comedy with a satirical bite.
One of the most influential of all futuristic films, its visual impact is greatest on the big screen: see it here in a new digital presentation in our glorious Cinema 1.
What begins as a London gangland thriller, ends in a kaleidoscope of ideas and visual effects as Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg introduce the villain to a world beyond his own.
This ultimate Swinging London film was in fact one of the last. The optimism of earlier pictures had disappeared, and as a record of the demise of not merely a film genre but also a cultural phenomenon, this is, in terms of music, fashion and design, utterly absorbing. The script is by George Melly.
Following a night of passion he changes his mind, but he is no longer in control of the situation. Experimental in form (in terms of split-screen effects, innovative sound and improvised dialogue), Levy's film was an attempt to break with the narrative traditions of mainstream cinema and reflects the development of the 'avant garde' in British film. One of the most original oddities I have ever seen, when I saw it back then.
Other films shown included that fascinating documentary TONIGHT LETS ALL MAKE LOVE IN LONDON, and Godard's CONTEMPT.