Published: June 8, 2016
UMEA, SWEDEN — Charles and Ray Eames are among the most influential designers of the Twentieth Century. Together they moved fluidly between the fields of photography, film, architecture, exhibition-making and furniture and product design. The Eames office in Los Angeles was a hub of activity where they produced pioneering designs with a boundless creativity that defined their careers.
A traveling exhibition, “Charles and Ray Eames,” is on view through September 4 at the Bildmuseet. The exhibition includes furniture, products, models and multimedia installations, as well as personal letters, photographs, drawings and artwork. It reveals the breadth of the Eameses’ innovations, reminding viewers of their playful ideas and providing an insight into their lives.
Charles Eames (1907–1978) was born in Missouri and started his career as an architect. Ray Eames (1912–1988) was born in California; she initially trained as an artist. The exhibition was curated and produced by the Barbican Art Gallery, London, in collaboration with the Eames Office. It has been made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The husband and wife team favored the mediums of film and photography and in their lifetime made more than 100 short films and collected a comprehensive body of photography used across print media, film and multiscreen lectures. Their passion for different methods of visual storytelling drove them to create innovative multimedia architecture projects that accentuated cutting-edge computer technologies or offered new ways to look at America in the Cold War-era.
In 1945 Arts & Architecture magazine launched its renowned Case Study House program, commissioning eight California-based architects initially to design and build modern homes in response to the needs of specific clients and locations. Charles and Ray Eames designed Case Study House No. 8 for themselves and collaborated with architect Eero Saarinen on Case Study House No. 9, designed for Arts & Architecture editor John Entenza. The Eames House was published in the December 1949 issue of the magazine, the month it was completed and the couple moved in. “For the Eameses, the house was to be the centre of productive activities and a ‘background for life in work,’” according to the exhibition’s wall text.
The Bildmuseet is at Umea University. For more information, www.bildmuseet.umu.se or +46 90 786 7400.
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