26 November 2015 - 16 January 2016, 00:00
A designer is a borrower, collector, coordinator, assimilator, juggler and collector of material, knowledge and thought from the past and present, from other designers, new technology and himself.
Born in London in 1932, Ivan Chermayeff emigrated to the US with his family during World War Two. Here, he studied at Harvard University, the Institute of Design in Chicago and Yale University's School of Art and Architecture. In New York he co-founded one of America's leading graphic design companies, Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, who created logos and brand identities for major corporations such as Mobil, Chase Manhattan and PanAm, and for cultural institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian, Washington and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
In 1959, together with partner Tom Geismar, Chermayeff published watching words move, a book of experimental typography that is now legendary for generations of graphic designers. The small publication combines a Helvetica typeface with the innovative layout and design of individual words and phrases to create motion, narrative and humour.
As an independent practitioner Chermayeff illustrated and designed books, designed posters, made prints and created hundreds of collages and assemblages. He made little distinction between his commercial and personal work, moving with ease between the two, but his greatest pleasure was making collages of imaginary beings and abstract sculptural forms. Cut and Paste presents nearly 50 of Chermayeff's collages made from envelopes, letterheads, labels, waste paper, Polaroids, magazines, and fragments of type from billboard posters with titles such as Geisha in Amsterdam, Celery Nose, Butterfly Mouth, One Eyed Peasant and Runner.
As well as designs and illustrations for books and magazines, Cut and Paste displays posters designed by Chermayeff announcing exhibitions at museums and galleries, the Mobil Masterpiece Theatre series and new television productions. The exhibition also presents a range of Chermayeff's identity work, including designs for Mobil Oil; Chase Manhattan Bank; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC; John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston; Princeton and Harvard University presses, numerous companies in Turkey and several aquariums around the world.
Ivan Chermayeff: Cut and Paste is a De La Warr Pavilion touring exhibition, co-curated by Alan Powers and Jane Won.