from November 13 2010 until February 13 2011
Hella Jongerius designs everything from tableware and vases to fabrics, chairs and sofas. This is the first time that Jongerius’s entire oeuvre is being exhibited in the Netherlands. ‘Hella Jongerius – Misfit’ offers a unique insight into her working methods, experiments and innovative products.
At Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen her products are hung on the walls and arranged by colour, providing a wonderful insight into her practice as a designer. The exhibition features not only Jongerius’s famous industrial products – such as the IKEA vases – but also unique experiments and countless sketch models.
The objects are arranged by colour and almost all of them are attached to the walls. This display means that there is are no thematic or chronological groupings and also no hierarchy between preparatory studies and finished products. Moreover, the objects are stripped of their normal functional context. In a museum the user is an observer. The museum context offers the visitor room to reflect upon the objects’ hidden meanings.
Two designs are highlighted in the centre of the gallery, including the Frog Table (2009). The museum recently acquired this table to complement the other designs by Jongerius in the collection. An enormous partially enamelled frog slowly emerges from the surface of the table, freeing itself from its decorative straitjacket. In this design Jongerius explores the potential of narrative decoration. ‘Decoration is a great way of triggering the imagination, and of making you think that an object really is yours’, Jongerius told an interviewer for The International Herald Tribune in March 2009. The frog mediates between the table and the user almost as a living creature.
Standing on the floor are 300 vases, arranged in a variety of colour schemes: the new series of Coloured Vases (series 3). Jongerius developed this series during the summer in close collaboration with Royal Tichelaar Makkum. The Coloured Vases are experiments with colour, using an existing vase as a ‘canvas’. The colours consist of a mix of historical mineral glaze recipes and modern chemical glaze recipes. Some vases have an extra layer of industrial paint. Colour is an important element in Hella Jongerius’s design practice, as you will see throughout the exhibition.
Hella Jongerius (1963) is internationally regarded as one of the most important designers of her generation. She began her own studio Jongeriuslab in Rotterdam in 1993, designing products for international clients and also self-initiated projects. In the 1990s she introduced imperfections and individuality into the industrial manufacturing process. Jongerius believes that the quality of craftsmanship is not legible in perfect products but only in the ‘misfits’ that betray the process and the hand of the maker.
To coincide with the exhibition Phaidon Press is publishing the monograph ‘Hella Jongerius – Misfit’ written by Louise Schouwenberg with contributions by the design critic Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The works illustrated in the publication are also arranged by colour. The book is designed by Irma Boom and is available from the museum shop.
In January the museum is organising a range of activities related to the exhibition, including a theme day with lectures and a family day. Hella Jongerius will be interviewed in one of the episodes of Boijmans TV and her designs in the museum’s collection can be seen at collectie.boijmans.nl.
The exhibition has been curated by Louise Schouwenberg. The exhibition has been made possible by a contribution from the Ahrend Fonds, administered by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. The exhibition has been made possible by Maharan, Vitra, Royal Tichelaar Makkum, Kettal, Camper and kt COLOR. ‘Hella Jongerius - Misfit’ is part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2009-2010.