Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Charles Jencks

Charles Jencks (1939 – 2019)  Architect, garden designer, critic and theorist

Vacuum flask, designed for Bodum, designer unknown, AIBDC: 000746

Charles Jencks, who died in October, is remembered as the writer who announced the death of Modernism and was the catalyst for Postmodernism.  His book, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, was first published in 1977 and ran to seven editions. It identified and articulated the significance of postmodernism before it had become a recognised style and thus he helped to bring the movement into existence.

Mary biscuit box, designed by Stefano Giovannoni for Alessi, AIBDC: 001227

Postmodernism was a repudiation of Modernism. Modernism was characterised by a search for universal truths, embodied in art and architecture by a rejection of traditional styles and a predilection for abstraction. By contrast Postmodernism was characterised by a distrust of theories, a self-conscious use of earlier styles, a penchant for contradictory layers of meaning and a love of irreverent irony. It collapsed the distinction between high and popular culture and challenged established definitions of ‘good’ art and design. As an architectural style, Postmodernism was relatively short lived. However, its plural character is especially in tune with the infinite transformation to which the plastics material group lends itself. Accordingly, it has continued to exert influence on product design. 

Diva watering can, designed by Eero Aarnio for Alessi, AIBDC: 006739
A small display has been curated in the cases outside MoDiP on the 1st floor of the AUB library as a homage to Jencks. The objects chosen have been designed by three different companies, all of whom have embraced Postmodernism: the Italian company, Alessi; the Swiss company, Bodum and the German company, Koziol. The exhibition will run until the end of January 2020.

Ahoi juicer, designed by Paolo Pedrizetti for Koziol, AIBDC: 002209

Eve fruit bowl, designed by Robin Platt for Koziol, AIBDC: 006731

Professor Susan Lambert,

MoDiP Chief Curator

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