Hella Jongerius - Jongeriuslab


EXEMPLARY, group exhibition at the MAK in Vienna

  • Year: 2014
  • Material: 6 paintings on canvas, 25 lacquered metal sheets, various colour samples
  • Dimensions: 300 x 600 cm
  • Commission: MAK Vienna
  • Production: Jongeriuslab
  • Category: Exhibition
  • Category: One-offs / experiments

On the occasion of the MAK’s 150th anniversary, the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna invited nine personalities to question the future role of a museum and to think about what an exemplary collection for today and tomorrow should consist of. Amongst these personalities is Hans Ulrich Obrist, who chose Alice Rawsthorn as a muse to collaborate with.
Obrist and Rawsthorn then asked several designers and artist, among them Hella Jongerius, to each select an unrealised project from their portfolio to be presented during the show.

Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with design critic Alice Rawsthorn about the exhibition Exemplary and his fascination for unfinished and unpublished projects.

Colour Recipe Research, Stop-motion movie for EXEMPLARY exhibition at MAK Vienna from JongeriusLab on Vimeo.

Exhibition text by Louise Schouwenberg

Hella Jongerius – a never-ending search for the hidden potential of colours, materials, and textures . . .

Hella Jongerius’s research on colours, materials, and textures is never complete. All her questions are open-ended, and all her answers provisional, taking the form of finished and semi-finished products. These are part of a never-ending process, and the same is essentially true of all Jongeriuslab designs: they possess the power of the final stage, while also communicating that they are part of something greater, with both a past and an uncertain future. 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. Through this working method, Jongerius not only celebrates the value of the process, but also engages the viewer, the user, in her investigation.

Colour research

Jongerius’s colour research draws on traditional paint recipes that are suitable both for painters’ canvases and for use on walls and furniture. Samples of the old paints are complemented by industrially produced colour samples and materials in hues that match the colour samples. This research is not a nostalgic plea for a return to traditional recipes and bygone colours. It is inspired by both tradition and present-day innovations.
In the firm belief that surprises, new insights, and deeper investigation arise mainly from experiments with materials, Jongerius decided to paint directly on canvas. These canvases make no pretence of being end results. The samples cut out by Jongerius pointed the way to later steps, such as combining and interweaving coloured threads in a wide range of textile designs. The ultimate aim of the colour research is to shed light on a quality that characterizes painting: paint on canvas ceases to be mere paint and fulfills its full potential for meaning and expression. Why shouldn’t the same thing apply to products?
By consciously drawing on painting as a source of inspiration, Jongerius searches for the manifold possibilities and expressions that she senses in colours and materials –not in order to create yet another colour palette, not to make something new for the sake of the new, but to engage users with the beauty of this never-ending investigation. When she takes the changing nuances of colour that she has discovered on canvas and applies them to her fabric designs, she leaves room for viewers to arrive at personal interpretations. Room for imagination. The provisional final results do not offer a simple answer to a simple question, but communicate that they are part of something greater, with both a past and an uncertain future.



back to overview