Color, light and shade – Hella Jongerius’ exhibition at Nationalmuseum

The Breathing Colour exhibition by Hella Jongerius dives into the design star’s studies on how lighting, shapes, and materials affect the way colors are perceived. With the exhibition, Jongerius also aims to stir conversation about the current color standards of the design industry.

Hella Jongerius
Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has studied the relationship between color and light for many years.

THIS FALL, NATIONALMUSEUM in Sweden presents an exhibition focusing on Dutch designer Hella Jongerius’ theories on the relationship between color and light. The exhibition, called Breathing Colour, opened October 17 at the recently renovated Nationalmuseum in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. The installation-based exhibition draws on the internationally renowned designer’s extensive artistic research, based on both scientific theories and her own observations, on the effect light has on how we experience color.

Both art and design are based on configurations of colors and shapes, light and shadows, reflections and materials. Breathing Colour balances between art and design, taking the visitor on a visual journey through the endless interplay of light and color and examining how the perception of colors is affected by the changing daylight.

Breathing Colour balances between art and design, taking the visitor on a visual journey through the endless interplay of light and color.

“Color is a visual experience, not a scientific one. The fact that there is no objectivity in color is a blessing,” Jongerius has stated.

Hella Jongerius
The exhibition's installations question our preconceptions on color by demonstrating how colors change as light shifts throughout the day.
Hella Jongerius
With the exhibition, Jongerius challenges the design industry's current views on color.

The exhibition consists of forms created out of paper, textiles, ceramics, metal, and plastic, presenting Jongerius’ 15 years of research on how colors behave depending on lighting and materials. At Nationalmuseum, Jongerius takes her studies deeper by displaying her research in combination with selected pieces from the museum’s collections.

The museum’s colored walls interact with Jongerius’ artwork in the exhibition.

In conjunction with the museum’s renovation, completed in 2018, the museum’s rooms were painted with different colors chosen based on the art on display. The idea was to give each room a context that would increase the artworks’ visual attraction. In the Breathing Colour exhibition, the museum’s colored walls interact with Jongerius’ artwork, inducing further reflection and discussion on the meaning of color.

Hella Jongerius
Jongerius’ pieces are exhibited in combination with selected artworks from Nationalmuseum’s collections.
Hella Jongerius
In addition to light, the exhibition delves into the effects of shapes and materials on the perception of color.

With the Breathing Colour exhibition, Hella Jongerius not only presents her research but also calls into question the design industry’s current approach to color and how colors are used in product development. She disputes the industry’s inclination for standardized, universal and predictable shades.

“I rebel against the flatness of the color industry. There’s a significant difference between the way colors are mixed for industrial production and the way that artists make their colors,” Jongerius has said. According to her, uniform use of color will make us miss out on the world’s beauty.

Hella Jongerius – Breathing Colour is open 17.10.–9.2.2020. Nationalmuseum, Södra Blasieholmshamnen, Stockholm.

See also:

Products designed by Hella Jongerius >

Text: Emmi Ratilainen Photos: Luke Hayes and Anna Danielsson

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