An Interpretation of the Exhibit of Hella Jongerius
This summer, the gallery had an intern, Sarah, who helped the gallery in a number of different ways. Sarah spent part of June in the Netherlands studying art, and we decided to have her share some of her experiences on our blog. Sarah will be writing two blog posts detailing her experiences on exhibits she saw while studying abroad. We hope you enjoy reading them!
Since coming back from studying abroad in the Netherlands, I have had the chance to really go through all my photos and decipher my favorite memories. Out of the many museums I visited, one of my favorites was the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam because it displayed such a wide and interesting variety of art. As part of my studies, I was asked to dissect any specific exhibit that I enjoyed and look at its relationship between the religion undertones and the exhibit.
From the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, I chose to analyze the Breathing Color exhibit of Hella Jongerius, known for her works in crafts, industry, and design. Jongerious has been a driving force in taking a second look at the intention of modern designs and how specifically color responds to form. With 15+ years of color research, she has worked with large designers like Ikea, had her art displayed in large museums across the globe like the MoMA, and has taught at universities across the Netherlands. She views her art as an investigation into consumerism and is constantly searching for insights within materials, textures, color, emotion, and process. Searching for an understanding to a concept that is so obscure, she uses these ideas to help her hone concept that is so obscure, she uses these ideas to help her hone in on what makes a consumer say “yes!” to an object on an emotional level. Focusing on opposite combinations like highly texturized and smooth surfaces, dull and bright colors, matte and shiny metals, Jongerious gives an overall critical look at industrial versus individual design. There is a focus on the intent to make individual objects have characteristics even objects made by industrial production, which she played up in her Ikea line.
At the Boijman Van Beuningen Museum, it was a pleasant surprise to see her fresh exhibit compared to how funky and eclectic the rest of the museum’s collection was. With such a diverse accumulation of art by old and new masters, the choice of curation of the museum kept you on your toes the whole time. There were works by world-renowned artists like Cezanne, Rothko, and Judd but also displays of lesser knownlesser-known Dutch artists like Suze Robertson, Pyke Koch and Kees Timmer. After leaving a playful room filled with huge sculptures of poop on oriental rugs by the artist group Gelatin, I was so excited to walk right into Jongerious’her work. This specific exhibit was looking to uncover the ever-changing relationship of light and color with how they breathe in relation to one another. This was reflected in the way the exhibit was structured, as Starting the exhibition beganoff withas athe section called “Morning,” which turned into “Afternoon” and eventually “Evening,” making the viewer travel through the exhibit the same way light shifts throughout the day.
This winding exhibit took me through a whole day worth of color from the morning’s subtle light pastels to the afternoon bright and rich colors and then evening’s darker shadows. (A bit repetitive in that you mention that it goes morning to afternoon to evening, but like the more specific description of the colors) Maybe “The exhibit accomplished this by first featuring light pastel works, then moving to works with brighter and richer colors and finally to art with darker shadows, reminiscent of the evolution of light throughout the day. .” (Pictures would be great!) Jongerious showed the relationship of color with light through techniques in folding, weaving, and reflection in huge woven tapestries, geometric blocks of plastic material, shimmering glass, walls of vases, paintings, sculptures and different light installations. With no fixed order of materials, there was a a fluidityfluidity seen between all mediums. (Pictures would be great!). The concrete walls either hung her crochet works, paintings done by other artists, her crochet works, some quotes, or were painted a solid color. One quote that really explained the space stated, “The unfinished, the provisional, the possible – they hide in the attention for imperfections, traces of the creation process, and the revealed potential of materials and techniques. Throughout this working method, I not only celebrate the value of my process, but also engage the viewer, the user, in my investigation.” She calls herself a color activist and wants to look past the standardized color-matching systems that the company Pantone and other companiess companies?s use and instead but rather look at the creative process it took to get to such intense colors.
Involving yourself with the space was vital to understanding the full day’ss effect. On the walls, there were paintings done by other artists but she covered them with her own crochet tapestries. After lifting them up, you could finally see what was underneath. The hidden art was mostly religious or mythical imagery, which was a purposeful design choice to the space to break up Jongerious’ color research. The space itself held its own religious undertones because the viewer experienced the art in a certain order, reflective of the specified steps and ritualistic process in many religions. of the ritual process it took to there was toview the art in a takcertain ordere the deliberate path mapped for the viewer which like religion, hasto see her art works in a specified steps in any ritualcertain order. It may have been an unconventional way of looking at color and light but it the space had the generic set up of an art exhibit. Even though this wasn’t a religious sanctuary, the art exhibitit still holds all the same values with realization and a fostering of contemplation that a religious space may have. ORDER the steps, the space and temperament . Both art exhibits and religious houses share carved pathways for the viewer’s experience. This deliberate ritualistic path provides a sense of calmness but also a wave of thought-provoking material.