American Chateau by Nienke Klunder and Jaime Hayon
11th September - 22nd October 2009
Spring Projects London
Jaime Hayon and Nienke Klunder have worked together since meeting in Italy in 2003. American Chateau, is their first public collaborative exhibition. This new series of sculptural and two dimensional pieces is a creative departure for both artists, taking inspiration from the iconic cultural exports of the USA, (Nienke's place of birth), and the opulence of 17th century European craftwork.
American Chateau comprises a collection of functional and non functional pieces. At first glance they look like custom made works for a palace from the 17th century, but on closer examination it becomes clear that the artifacts on show are not as we would expect; the classical marble busts of heroes and heroines which usually adorn such chateaus are replaced by a 'Melting Virgin' praying on her knees and a 'The Rocking Hot Dog', a large playful sculpture upon which the viewer sits, legs straddled. The centre-piece of the room is a sleek glossy table in the form of a limousine with legs made in the shape of an infamous fast food chain logo, finished to perfection by a master craftsman*. The 'Melting Virgin' with a doughnut face both celebrates and critiques the world of material longing, cultural influence and the need to consume. Executed by long-standing leaders in manufacture, the pieces are a fusion of two worlds, contradicting and complimenting each other at the same time; the works' finish is high-quality and high-tech, although both artists take pride in their 'hands-on approach'. The 'Rocking Hot Dog, 'which is fun to ride', is produced by a Formula 1 body manufacturer. Jaime and Nienke's pieces are the icons of the booming, fast-food American dream, a kind of Versailles meets Disneyland hybrid. This unusual juxtaposition transcends historical, social and contextual boundaries through its eclectic influences and overlapping of historical periods and high and low culture. It challenges the elite notions of art and design and gives them a frame of reference in contemporary everyday culture.
Nienke Klunder, a Californian born and Dutch raised artist, graduated from the Breda Fine Art Academy and joined Fabrica for a residency in 2003. Since then she has exhibited in prominent galleries and art-spaces world wide, such as the Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Gallery Bertin-Toublanc in Paris/ Miami and the Centre of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (MACBA). Her work has been selected for 'Descubrimientos', Photo España in Madrid, 'The New Photographers 2007', by Getty Images, as well as for the permanent collection at the Jumex Foundation. Her photographs have appeared in Colors, El Pais, Neo2, Pol Oxygen, Ojodepez, Adbusters, and The Financial Times. She has a multi-disciplinary approach to her work; producing sculptures, drawings, installations and photographs, which she is most known for. Working mainly in sequences and series, she often uses self-portraiture to explore themes of identity and transformation. Her series are visual essays that are in turn comic, tragic, sexual and political. Moving between the roles of photographer and subject her work has the effect of a series of cinematic stills, each image containing a larger story. There are recurring themes: the female body where exaggerated breasts are given prominence as beauty and burden, grotesque yet sexual, both threatening and poignant.
Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon was born in Madrid in 1974. As a teenager he submerged himself in skateboard culture and graffiti art, the foundation of the detailed, bold-yet-whimsical designs so distinctive in his work today. After studying industrial design in Madrid and Paris he joined Fabrica in 1997, working closely with legendary image maker and agitator Oliverio Toscani. In a short time he was promoted to the head of their design department, where he oversaw projects ranging from shops, restaurants, exhibition displays and designs to graphics. His wide client base spans diverse function and mediums, including furniture for B.D. Ediciones, a bathroom for ArtQuitect, lighting for Metalarte and Swarovski and objects for Bisazza and Baccarat. Jaime's awards include: best installation (Icon Magazine), Breakthrough Creator (Wallpaper Magazine), 2006 Elle Deco International Award and in 2008 and Jaime was guest of honour at Belgium's Interieur Biennial, the youngest person ever to receive the accolade.
His personal vision was first fully exposed in Mediterranean Digital Baroque at London's David Gill Gallery, an exciting mise en scène, largely executed in ceramic, followed by Mon Cirque, which traveled to Frankfurt, Barcelona, Paris and Kuala Lumpur. These collections put Jaime at the forefront of a new wave of creators that blurred the lines between art, decoration and design and a renaissance in finely-crafted, intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture.
Jaime further defined his vision in subsequent solo exhibitions and shows at major galleries, design and art fairs all over the globe. His work has been displayed at London's Aram Gallery; Milan's Salone de Mobile; Germany's Vitra Museum, London's Design Museum, Rotterdam's Vivid Gallery and the Groninger Museum (Holland), and has attracted the attention of prestigious art collectors.
Jaime's esteem and knowledge of artisan skills and his inherent creativity has allowed him to push the boundaries of contemporary design. Fantasy, Jaime's collection of works produced with porcelain manufacturer Lladró, and this show, American Chateau, made in collaboration with artist Nienke Klunder marks a new direction in his work.