The cool modernism of the De La Warr Pavilion continues to be disturbed by the rush of bustling stuff and the apparent chaos of Tamoko Takahashi’s ephemera fuelled exhibition. This afternoon’s Collectors Corner was a further ruffle to the rectilinear calm of Gallery One when Dave Valentine and Louise Kenward brought in their respective collections to show a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Between the ages of 5 and 7 Dave rigorously gathered as many types of crisp and savoury snack packet as he could and stored them away in scrap books and plastic sleeves and only recently (25 years later) rediscovered them in his father’s loft. For Dave and for many of the thrilled visitors the nostalgic appeal of the 250 packets was hugely enjoyable and stimulated much debate about the designs and colours of the packets graphics and the differing flavours and shapes of the actual snacks. About 100 people drifted in throughout the afternoon and many were surprised and delighted to recall favourite snacks and fond memories of particular brands, including oddities such as Burger Bites, Ringos, Wheat Crunchies, Discos, Piccolos, and Crunchy Waffles. These plastic and brightly coloured packets counterbalanced the creamy smooth porcelain of Louise’s collection of whimsical figurines – little princesses, dancing Louis Quatorze style figures, and misty eyed maidens collected from local charity shops, all sitting calmly in front of Takahashi’s explosive garden shed piece. Louise started collecting her figurines four years ago when she moved to Bexhill and the appeal for her lies in their peculiar and ironic nature, as well as their ability to suggest a previous life with different owners who must once have loved them.
When asked the visitors too has weird and wonderful collections, though often they were dismissed as ‘nothing much’. Personal collections included obvious items like fridge magnets, rubbers, soap, badges, model die cast busses to the more unusual lego box instructions, nice tasteful pigs, Care Bears, and KLM airline Dutch pottery houses containing gin plus the man who has spent 40 years collecting crisp/snack packets from all over the world and now had 3,000 items – all kept under his daughters bed.
The most pleasurable aspect of the whole afternoon was the real and tangible enthusiasm of both the collectors and the audience and the fact that these 2 collections attracted interest from all sorts of people of all ages.