Thursday, July 27, 2017

Postcards With An Edge

Vintage postcards seem to be a thing these days: no bric-a-brac stall or antique shop is complete without a box of random postcards from the second half of the last century to thumb through and intrude on the past life of people we have never met; Tom Jackson's Twitter account and recently published book, Postcard From The Past, features a series of front images, each accompanied by a very funny Victoria Wood-esque sentence - "Went to see Connie in her new bungalow", "The sight of my box made me homesick for you", "It's all lager and cigars here", etc - from the message on the reverse; and now, tucked away in the first floor gallery at the De La Warr Pavilion, is Roy Voss's delightful exhibition of postcard collages, All The World's A Sunny Day.

Displayed in linear fashion around three walls, Voss's postcards have had a single word cut from the message, and then reversed, so that it appears at a seemingly random point in the front image. Sometimes the word relates literally to the picture, as in 'long' on a postcard of the world's longest pier at Southend-on-Sea, and sometimes a pair or series of cards form a more allusive narrative. I enjoyed the humour of the words 'trip' and 'fall' on postcards of the Matterhorn and Snowdon, respectively, and because of its local interest I was drawn to the dark edge given to adjacent Beachy Heads with the addition of the word 'on' at the cliff top on one, and 'off' at its foot on the other. In fact, Voss seemed to favour prepositions with 'up', 'down', 'over' and 'out' appearing on several images in the exhibition.

As Voss has used postcards from 1960 to 1980, the images had a youthful familiarity for me and I may be guilty of rosy nostalgia for a means of communication that seems to be coming to an end; but the exhibition also resonated less happily with me because of the memory of having to force out every single word on those postcards I was made to write to relatives on childhood holidays.

All The World's A Sunny Day is at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea until 8th Ocober 2017.

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