Dec 2, 2000–Feb 9, 2001

Hella Jongerius and Jurgen Bey


Hella Jongerius and Jurgen Bey are two young and highly influential Dutch designers who maintain independent studios in Rotterdam. This will be the largest exhibition of their work in the United States. Transcending the modern obsession with originality, both designers show an appreciation and understanding for the original producers and users of objects (in the case of recycled materials and designs), as well as for the contemporary user of their products. Jongerius and Bey enjoy a loose association with the collections of Droog Design, which has been presenting the work of Dutch designers since 1993.

Both Jongerius and Bey create functional objects that are intentionally a bit “off”—objects in which the good mistake is cultivated, applauded, and pursued. They approach the designing of these objects from opposite sides and transform the original forms into “things” that are no longer recognizable.

Bey works from the inside out, trolling his neighborhood streets for old furniture, secondhand shops, and discards from friends, and then covering his found objects with a new material. Two fine examples of this are Kokon, which features found chairs wrapped in a synthetic fiber that shrinks around the skeleton of the chair to form a smooth, elastic skin, and Broken Family, which comprises old porcelain tea sets that have been silver plated to give them new life. In one of his newest works, Tree Trunk Bench, Bey casts antique chair backs in bronze and attaches them to logs.

Jongerius, on the other hand, works from the outside in, searching for a favorite or coveted object that has a home, such as in a museum or a private collection. She then appropriates the object, and completely re-creates it with a new material. Jongerius makes soft polyurethane versions of normally hard objects, such as vases based on classical forms from antiquity. She also looks to other cultures for inspiration, as in a recently developed folding chair based on a Ugandan design.

ICA is grateful to the following donors for their generous support of this exhibition: Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam; Henry S. McNeil, Jr.; The Consulate General of The Netherlands; Ella B. Schapp; and The NetherlandAmerica Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Advisory Board, friends, and members of the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. InKind Support: Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Willow Grove, PA, Division 21.