We like to think of Jamie Hayon’s Monday through Friday job as making posh chairs and lamps for companies like Fritz Hansen and Barcelona Design; but once the weekend hits, he’s eating sugary cereal, watching Saturday morning cartoons, and creating wonderfully strange pieces like the ones currently in view in Funtastico (October 13, 2013 – March 30, 2014) at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.
The Groninger’s image gallery for the Spanish artist’s exhibition opens with a picture of Hayon smirking, dressed in an outfit that looks like it was lifted from a children’s TV show, and riding a bright green rocking horse shaped like a chicken. From there, the rest of the show would almost seem tame if it weren’t for the circus-inspired ceramic objects and a ride-able, purple sausage.
The exhibition is the first large-scale solo show of Hayon’s artwork and it achieves an immersive experience. “Jaime Hayon’s work issues from an irresistible urge to create his own world,” the museum’s web site states. “It occupies a central position between autonomous art and design, where amusing, fantastic and narrative elements are combined with a keen eye for detail and finishing.”
Hayon’s artwork invites, no begs, the viewer to be a part of it. We can see this in action with The Tournament. The installation is a full chess set of 2-meter-high ceramic pieces. The set is inspired by the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar between the British, French, and Spanish navies, but skewed by Hayon’s sense of humor. For example, when a player loses in chess it’s customary for the player to tip his or her king in deference to the winner. The back of one of Hayon’s king pieces has an image depicting a king slipping on a banana peel. This work debuted in Trafalgar Square in 2009 and the Groninger Museum plans to schedule games using the set.
Funtastico collects ten years of work from one of art and design’s most fabulous weirdos while offering viewers the chance to play around in his colorful mind.
Bill Rodgers is a Contributing Editor at CFile.
Above image: Installation view of Jamie Hayon’s Funtastico at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands. Courtesy of the artist and the museum.