Starting on Wednesday, Jan 9, artist Stefan Sagmeister will make a lot of people happy. Or so he hopes.
The newly revamped Design Exchange building will play host to sculpture, video and interactive displays that aim to evoke, rather than represent, “happiness”: a challenging feat, given the history and elusive nature of such a sought-after state of being.
Born in Bregenz, Austria, Sagmeister is now based in NYC, where he uses his clever, thoughtful design in advertising, record branding, public installations, artist collaborations and many projects for the queer community.
One dinner invitation he designed for the Gay and Lesbian Task Force included a giftbox containing a fresh banana and plum. The caption on his website reads, “Invitation for a gala dinner organized by the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, utilizing quite obvious symbolism. 3000 were sent out in the middle of a New York heat wave. Production turned into a nightmare. ”
Sagmeister’s Toronto exhibition, entitled The Happy Show
, is inspired by 10 years of journal entries and personal examination of what puts him in a happy place. After listing times in his life that took his breath away, he noticed a curious correlation: more than half of his favourite, most delicious, blissful memories were directly related to design -- be it the form and function of his newest Walkman, seeing an inspiring billboard as his flight touched down in Hong Kong or meeting with the Rolling Stones to discuss ideas for their next album cover.
The Happy Show
takes Sagmeister’s own musings and applies them to our cynical, pragmatic world. He partners artistic theories with those of psychologists and historians while making aspects of the exhibition interactive.
Combining social theory with captivating visuals is not only a source of Sagmeister’s personal happiness, but also his forte.
The Happy Show
runs Jan 9-March 3 at the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St. $15; free for Design Exchange members. sagmeister.com,