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In an exhibition ‘Vous avez dit bizarre?’ Dutch artist Bart Hess and art historian Alexandra Jaffré investigate and expose the grotesque – the weird, absurd and uncomfortable – in both the society we live in and in appearance of design pieces. The exhibition, which is one of ten on-site exhibitions of Biennale Internationale Design St. Étienne in France, brings together works of over forty designers playing with different aspects of the grotesque in their works – the ridiculous and fun, and the scary and uneasy.


This year’s edition of the design biennale runs under the theme of ‘Experiences of Beauty’ but the design pieces in ‘Vous avez dit bizarre?’ challenge both good taste and beauty. What at first glance seems as an absurd take of strange one-off design pieces turns into a commentary and criticism of consumerism and over-consumption and absurdities of the Western society taking the form of a grotesque carnival. Even thought the criticism truly only opens through an essay by Alexandra Jaffré in the catalogue of the biennale, the exhibition also raises uncomfortable questions about role and meaning of design and the exhibited design pieces, which balance on the flyaway threshold of design and art.

Design: Bart Hess


via Frameweb

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