The Happy Show by Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister explores and transcends the boundaries between art and design. The exhibition documents Sagmeisters ten years of ongoing investigation into happiness with the aid of videos, prints, infographics, sculptures, and interactive installations.
He spoke to psychologists and investigated everything from meditation to mood-altering drugs collecting the outcomes of his explorations in a monumental documentation of a series of large-scale wallpieces, installations and oversized typographic pieces.
The Happy Show takes visitors on a journey through the designer’s way of thinking and his attempts to increase his own happiness by training his mind as others train their bodies. Graphics dotted about the show reveal various happiness-related statistics – such as levels compared across different countries, and the kinds of activities that create joy.
A wall of neon tubes only lights up to reveal its motivational messages when a nearby bicycle is pedalled, and a mischievous illustration on an elevator brings a naked couple together when the doors are closed. Graphics of self help-style statements adorn the stairs leading up to the museum, and a pair of giant inflatable apes inhabit the atrium – one of which has arms that dangle over the upper balustrade.
The exhibition literally flows through Vienna’s MAK Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art – stretching across corridors, exhibition halls and staircases. In handwritten commentaries on the museum’s walls, bannisters, and bathrooms, Sagmeister elucidates his thoughts and motives for the projects on show.
He supplements these personal notes with facts from social science by psychologists Daniel Gilbert, Steven Pinker, and Jonathan Haidt, as well as anthropologist Donald Symons, and important historians, to contextualize his experiments with mind and typography. This inspiring presentation shows the designer’s experiences during a three-month experiment with meditation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering medication.
THE HAPPY SHOW
MAK Museum for Applied Arts
and Contemporary Art
Through 28 March 2016
ART & DESIGN FAIRS
ART BASEL 13 JUN/ 16 JUN
FRIEZE LONDON 03 OCT/ 06 OCT
FIAC PARIS17 OCT/ 20 OCT
PARIS PHOTO 07 NOV/ 10 NOV
SCOPE MIAMI 03 DEC/ 08 DEC
DESIGN MIAMI 04 DEC/ 08 DEC
ART BASEL MIAMI 05 DEC/ 08 DEC