“The Year of the Moss Children” is an installation that Jason Jacques Gallery showed at Design Miami 2022. The presentation consists of artist Kim Simonsson’s Moss People in a structure by Urban Umbrella. Kim Simonsson / Urban Umbrella: The Year of the Moss Children.
JasonJacques Gallery, Design Miami 2022. Miami Beach (Florida, USA), December 2, 2022.
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Press text (excerpt):
Early this year, Kim Simonsson’s famed Moss People appeared as Giants in a monumental public installation that transformed Lille’s city-center for “Utopia,” the 6th grand thematic edition of the French triennial arts and culture fair, “lille3000.” Then they appeared again in the late summer, this time at the 16th Lyon Biennale, where over two dozen Moss Children could be spotted through-out the sprawling exhibition’s six official venues. They were swaddled in historical meta narrative, exhibited alongside masterpieces of ancient sculpture in order to present us with a birds eye view not only of artwork past and present but of our own understanding of art history.
Now, Jason Jacques Gallery is thrilled to announce that we are bringing a never-before-seen Moss Giant stateside, where it will be exhibited alongside a grouping of recent works by Simonsson at our Design Miami/ 2022 presentation, which will be ensconced in a large-scale installation, courtesy of Urban Umbrella— a design company re-imagining scaffolding with beauty and security in mind.
The Moss People are gatherers, decked out in readymades, wearing cauliflower shoes and shocks of feathers. They merge figurative sculpture, found objects, and a radical combination of handiwork and industrial fabrication (the hand-sculpted clay figures are covered in epoxy and flocked with nylon after firing) to a mesmerizing effect.
“The name Moss People refers to children’s innate camouflage,” explains Simonsson. “The moss green figures blend perfectly into their natural surroundings, just as a soft carpet of moss covers the ground, rocks, and tree trunks and acts as a sort of protection. In the Moss People’s world, lost and disconnected children, evoking different characters… choose leaders and end up creating false idols.” They communicate through their own symbolic, visual language. Like migratory birds, they move from one place to another on a quest for meaning, seeking re-enchantment.
In addition to the usual look of the Moss People, Simonsson plays with milky white, cobalt blue, and anthracite black glazes, as well as metallic lusters of a wide variety; more recently, he has expanded his sculptural output to include mysterious figures, dark as midnight, flocked in jet-black nylon. Simonsson refers to these preternatural works as “Silhouettes.” Their fibrous, black surface’s superlative level of light absorption gives them a strangely flat appearance that shifts and shimmers as the figures are approached and viewed in the round.
Simonsson himself is a superb sculptor. Freely referencing pop-culture, science fiction, mythology, nature, consumer culture, and children’s games, he uses found objects with great allegorical precision and models clay with a profound sensitivity for his subjects that shines through each of his gestures.
Every sculpture is handmade in the artist’s studio in Fiskars Village, Finland. Their charming, unique texture and hyper-saturated coloration is the result of Simonsson’s unique technique that combines sculptural ceramics with industrial fabrication methods. Each and every one of these variations on Simonsson’s overarching theme expands the mythos that surrounds these beguiling fae. Blown up to monumental size, they continue to captivate an international community of viewers, collectors, curators, and critics.