This autumn Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
is presenting the first retrospective exhibition in the Netherlands of the designer Hella Jongerius. It is a unique survey of her working practices, experiments and innovative products.
The exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen includes industrial products, experiments and numerous sketch models, giving an overview of all of Hella Jongeriuss themes and preoccupations. The exhibition includes well-known designs such as the Bset, Long Neck & Groove Bottles, Repeat fabrics, Nymphenburg plates, the Polder Sofa, IKEA vases and the Frog Table. It also features her most recent work: in the middle of the space are 300 unique vases arranged in a circle according to colour. This series of Coloured Vases has been developed in close collaboration with Royal Tichelaar Makkum. On the walls there is a visual chronological survey of the works in the exhibition by the graphic designer Irma Boom.
Hella Jongerius (1963) is one of the most important designers of her generation. 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. Misfits are my idea of perfection, says Jongerius. Many of her products, such as the Layers textiles and Nymphenburg plates, explore the potential of historical motifs and narrative decoration. In the Frog Table, the decoration literally escapes from the flat surface; the frog mediates between the table and the user almost as a living creature.
The retrospective exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen explores Jongeriuss working methods and her innovative vision of the design profession. 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.
Hella Jongerius graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven in the early 1990s, a period that witnessed the emergence of conceptual design. Between 1993 and1998 Jongerius mainly initiated her own design projects and contributed to several projects for Droog Design. Since then she has worked for numerous clients around the world. She has won prestigious prizes and her designs are represented in the collections of museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York; Galerie Kreo in Paris and the Design Museum in London. Her studio, Jongeriuslab, was based in Rotterdam until 2008. Jongerius now lives and works in Berlin.