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"monkey" Tag

Wooden Monkey by Kay Bojesen

Saturday, October 27, 2018


The wooden monkey shown above is currently exhibited at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam. It is designed by Danish designer Kaj Bojesen. This type of design is part of the Mid-century design movement. See link below.


Classic status
It is fair to say the wooden monkey has by now acquired a classic status. This soon became clear to me after the first google search I made on the the monkey. His name has become a brand. Because of its status, information and promotion on the wooden monkey is widely available in books, magazines and on the World Wide Web. With the latter sparkling my interest the most. Therefore, I narrowed down the results of my research into the following topics:

-How are the monkeys nowadays produced? (background information, technical specifications, authenticity of the product, retail information)

-On which types of platforms on the web information about the monkey is shared and presented? (Retail websites, Magazines, social media)

-What are the types of promotions in which the monkey is promoted on the web? (Various promotion materials specified on the monkey)

Examples of  Google search and Image findings when typing in Wooden monkey by Kay Bojesen:

Got a monkey that needs mending? Don’t worry, repair kits are widely offered for sale.


Production & Background Information

Who is Kay Bojesen?

See for yourself how the monkey is made?


Responsible design
The monkeys are produced and handmade in Denmark with a focus on using sustainable wood in the process. Two types of wood are used in the making of the monkey; Limba and Teak. The Limba wood is imported from Africa and wears the EUTR certification, a guarantee of lawfully harvested timber in the country of origin. The teak wood is plantation teak, a sustainable alternative for forest teak. With plantation teak the variations are unavoidable. Freshly cut plantation teak varies from wax-coloured to pale greyish green, sometimes speckled with dark spots or stripes. Under the influence of light and air the subtle shades of the teak may change in to a more consistent, golden brown tone. These colour variations are not regarded as a parameter for quality. However, a surface free from marks, splinters, splits and healthy knots is.

An Authentic wooden Boysen monkey can be purchased on the web, via second hand and vintage stores or can be acquired through people who possess such monkey. You will most probably experience not much difficulty stumbling upon on one in the Scandinavian region. Inside Danish homes in particular.

Since the wooden monkey is a sought-out item for collectables you will find many people offering their own on websites like eBay, Amazon and Esty. Other examples of website selling alternatives include for-sale and Marktplaats.

How can you verify that the monkey that you have acquired or purchased is the real deal? If you wish to buy one from the internet your best guess is to visit the official Kay Boyesen website and search for the find retailer tag at the top left corner of your screen. After you have clicked on the tag, the stores and their location become visible on an interactive map. These stores are verified by the company that produces the toy as official selling points. On the same page and on the right side of the map you will see the logos of some verified online retailers



(A clear print of the copyright stamp is visible on the sole of the right foot)


The Rosendhal Design Group company (in collaboration with the Boyesen family) that produces the handmade monkeys of today are made as precisely as possible to Kaj Boyensens handmade monkeys from back in the days. This includes the Stamp under the bottom of the feet which shows the copyright mark with the name of Kaj Boyesen. The only way to differentiate the vintage one from today’s one is by the damage that naturally and inevitable occurs as a result of ageing.


Platforms of representation on the Web

Books, Magazines, Social media & Exhibitions
There are a lot of books, magazines and websites out there that have dedicated pages to the designer Kay Bojesen. Not only in broader terms or in relation to the movement he was considered to be part of, or his time as a silversmith(see below), but also zooming in to his oeuvre of wooden animals in particular.


Because the monkey has such a significant and prominent place in the world of design it is often written about on social media. From Blogs to Twitter to Instagram accounts devoted to share, show and exhibit the monkey in a variety of scenes. Scenes carefully constructed by the companies that sell the monkey. Scenes created and intended for advertisement and promotional purposes. Scenes directed by people that live extravagant life’s, ordinary lives and everything that is in between. It is people like you and me who seem to give character, purpose and perhaps an even more dynamic position to what the Monkey’s life could entitle. I found this personalization and projection of individual experiences on to the wooden monkey a rather intriguing something to observe. . . Intimate and in some ways deeply revealing. The monkey exceeds to be “only” a designers object. And more often then not, it is seen and experienced as an added value to the interior of a house and in some cases to peoples personal lives.

When the monkey leaves the position of a collectable item, or the intimate spheres inside people’s homes it travels overseas to Museums and exhibition venues ready for yet again a different way to be exposed. In this way, another context of display gives rise to new connotations and interpretations of value and revisions of the past.

The image above is part of an exhibition at Trapholt Museum, Denmark. Click here to visit the page regarding the exhibition.


The Iconic image of the monkey is seen visible on different forms of promotion material. One could even say the promotion products have become new authentic, independent products of their own. From posters to blankets and more, the image of the monkey has almost become a symbolic kind of design representing the brand Kaj Boyesen. And not to forget also representing part of Danish mid-century design.

In the selling of the Items, the wooden monkey cleverly, is placed precisely and with attentiveness next to its own promotion image or item. Thus, creating a rather intriguing image; the wooden monkeys timeless yet iconic image, composed in a near exact same way as the original, forms a dialogue with its own new and reinvented image of its future self. With both objects representing the concepts and Ideas of their own area, the dialogue that takes place is as contemporary as ever.




What’s In A Name: a Project for Gray Magazine

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On request of Gray Magazine #5 (yearly published on the occasion of Rietveld’s final exams show) 40 students of the Foundation Year, guided by Henk Groenendijk and Tine Melzer, unleashed a two day project to create a new context for a highly varied 20.000 slide images archive. André Klein, now chair of Fine Arts and Sandberg Applied Art Dept, compiled these slides over his 25 year long career of art history teaching.

We could only guess after the motives and meanings that bound these images together in a dynamic process of ever changing contexts and wonder what new context of relation they would have in the eyes and minds of the basicyear students. The uninhibited existence of a ‘democratically’ selected 1000 reproductions, registrations and images was given new meaning through a process of retagging with subjective keywords. In the 2 day process new contexts and connections were created, processes where discovered, and results presented in a physical display of image related tag-lists and monumental alphabetical (key)word lists. I am a kid
I burn
ice cube
ice cream
in scene
inner space

Awareness surfaced about the relation between content and image and word and form and content in the contexts of our own terms. Tagging images uncovered these relations

some of the question we asked ourselves were:

The mechanisms of images and imagination on one side and the mechanisms of names and naming on the other – where do they both meet?
What is the link between what we see and how we call it?
What is the process of agreement with the other(s) to find relevant and appropriate names?
Is tagging also a kind of ‘baptizing’? Or rather an act of memory and memorizing, how things are called?
What is the level of interpretation when we have to give an image a tag?
What is the relationship between tag and image, word and view?

  download Gray Magazine # 5 [this is a 44 MB document] :
For more information on this and other lecture projects based on the same archive, read Gray Magazine #5. Get your own hard copy from the Library


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