18. Juni 2018 – Art

Beauty = Human

Sagmeister & Walsh: A Retrospective now open at Design Museum Holon, featuring a new typographic wall piece that uses 10,000 insects

A Detail from the work Beauty = Human, 2018
Detail Beauty = Human, 2018

Design Museum Holon presents the first retrospective exhibition for New York based creative agency Sagmeister & Walsh, showcasing over 70 pieces from the studio’s recent body of work and taking visitors on a visual and interactive journey of beauty, happiness and emotion in design. At the centre of the exhibition is a new site-specific installation titled Beauty = Human. From a distance, Beauty = Human appears as a highly decorative typographic embroidery piece, showcasing a variety of craft patterns that emulate shapes found in nature. Closer examination unveils how the work is entirely made of over 10,000 colourful beetles, bugs and many other species of insects, transforming people’s misconceptions of bugs by viewing them initially as a stunningly colourful artwork.
“This installation compels the viewer to change his/her perception of beauty and humanity,” says Maya Dvash, Chief Curator of Design Museum Holon. “As beauty is found throughout the exhibition, challenging this theme further demonstrates the multi-faceted nature of design.”
This exclusive addition to the exhibition was achieved by bringing 10,000 non- endangered insects of different species from France. Specialists and artists have worked with Design Museum Holon on this piece to make Sagmeister & Walsh’s provocative and imaginative concept come to life.
“The concept of beauty has had a bad reputation for hundreds of years” says Stefan Sagmeister, designer and partner at Sagmeister & Walsh. “Most respectable designers claim not to be interested in it. The shift in the psychological perception of beauty has prompted a decrease in finding beauty in the design of every day sightings such as cities, architecture, and graphics. The goal of bringing pieces of The Beauty Show to Design Museum Holon is to prove to the visitor that beauty is not a surface strategy, but a central part of what it means to be human.”
Screened in the Lower Gallery is the new film “Beauty = Function”, made for Venice Architecture Biennale 2018. This is presented alongside works from the Sagmeister & Walsh’s Assembling and Disassembling category, as well as some ‘Behind the Scenes’ of their works. Presented in the Upper Gallery are five categories – The Representation of Emotions, Creating Worlds, References & Quotations, Letters as Images, and Representing the Body – and selected works from concept exhibition The Happy Show.
Fitting into the overall theme of Sagmeister and Walsh: A Retrospective, the Design Lab features “Uncanny”, a smaller visual communication exhibition that highlights technological and innovative works by Israeli design students. This experimental exhibition is based on digitally creative and anti-disciplinary design concepts and is curated by Noga Shimson, who also curates the “Wheat is Wheat is Wheat” exhibition by designer Peddy Mergui. Located in the corridor, this exhibition puts a spotlight on consumerism and materialism.

How Happy Are You, 2012
Everybody Always Thinks They Are Right, 2006
Portrait of Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister at Design Museum Holon

Opening Image: Close up of “Beauty = Human”, 2018

All images: Shay Ben Efraim

Beauty = Human, site specific wall installation Sagmeister & Walsh: A Retrospective
June 6 – October 20, 2018