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  • Literature

    Droog & Dutch Design, From Product to Fashion: the collection of the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Utrecht, 2000, p. 82; Louise Schouwenberg, Hella Jongerius, London, 2003, throughout
     

  • Catalogue Essay

    On the shoulders of her well-known porcelain vases, Dutch ceramist Hella Jongerius often impresses an outsize thumbprint (hers, we presume). The mark seems both proud signature and admission of guilt: fingerprints, after all, lead to convictions—Ceramist Jailed for Cultural Appropriation. Jongerius confesses, “I amalgamate images from both high and low culture. I stack one idiom on another.” (Louise Schouwenberg, Hella Jongerius, London, 2003, p. 128) But her sampling isn’t larceny, it’s inclusive design and evidence of a wily imagination. From her studios in Utrecht and Berlin, Jongerius labours across many media: ceramics, glass, upholstery, and industrial materials; she builds furniture, embroiders cast porcelain, appropriates found objects. Her layered output, like a patchwork quilt, is stitched from many cloths. “Craft is a theme in my work. Mixing it with the industrial process is like mixing…first and third world cultures, mixing tradition with a contemporary language, different ages and techniques.” (London Design Museum, Design Library online archive, “Hella Jongerius,” Web)
     
    On a trip to the Kasese District of western Uganda, Jongerius fell in love with a simple wooden chair made by a local carpenter. Returning home, she reinterpreted it in carbon fibre, fibreglass, and felt. Her ‘Kasese Sheep Chair’ (1999) borrows from a specific indigenous source while referencing an ageless pastoral archetype: the three-legged milking stool. The brevity of its form; its industrial materials; and the sincerity of its cultural sampling mark the ‘Kasese’ as a postmodern design free of cynicism and irony. “Why should I design anything new if certain forms have long proved their usefulness?…They have been made that way for hundreds of years and for a good reason (Schouwenberg, 2003, p. 110).” Jongerius, motivated by a humane belief in borrowing and recurrence, is that great contemporary cultural hero, the 'mash-up' artist.
     
    ‘Kasese Sheep Chair’ is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

12

Pair of rare and early ‘Kasese Sheep’ chairs

1999
Carbon fibre over fibreglass, ‘Not Tom, Dick & Harry’ handmade wool and silk felt entitled by Claudy Jongstra.
Each: 72.5 cm. (28 1/2 in.) high

Produced as a private commission by Jongeriuslab, The Netherlands. Underside of each with stitched label ‘JONGERIUS LAB’ (2).

Estimate
£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £12,500

Design

28 April 2010
London