Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip, Anya Lewin

Anya Lewin ­- Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip
Peninsula Arts Gallery
(http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=8132)

Saturday 27th April – Friday 31st May
08/05/2013

‘Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip is a memory of 1950’s early 1960’s Hollywood, but it is also the now in Plymouth, UK.’

In this exhibition Anya Lewin has resurrected her fathers 50’s coffee house in the form of a film set. Accompanying this was a short film, created by the artist, that mimicked the TV show ’77 Sunset Strip’, which the original Chez Paulette had featured in.

                            Fig 1. The exterior of ‘Chez Paulette’

The coffee house, though presented as a film set, was a working cafe, and viewers could sit within the space, sipping coffee, with the short film playing in the background. However, ‘Chez Paulette’ seems to be much more of a pastiche, the accompanying film verging on parody. The over-done, almost ‘tacky’ nature of the film could be seen as an encapsulation of the era, a grand facade, with shadiness behind the smiles and the Hollywood stars. The coffee shop seems a tender iteration of nostalgia, harking to a much more simple time, that 21st century viewers almost seem to crave. Entering the cafe is as though entering another world, for a moment it all seems real, but one only has to step outside of it to be confronted with the busy Plymouth city through the gallery window.

                                Fig 2. The Interior of Chez Paulette

In this exhibition Lewin explores her own family history, and, through Chez Paulette its connection to screen history. However, with out the reading of the accompanying literature provided by the gallery, to most ‘Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip’ would only appear as a quirky pop up shop offering steaming cups of nostalgia and a pastiche of a Hollywood film.

References:
Information/Quote, supplied in accompanying exhibition hand out.

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