Friday, April 1, 2011
The Chair - Point of departure
Wikipedia - A chair is a stable, raised surface used to sit on, commonly for use by one person. Chairs are most often supported by four legs; however, a chair can have three legs (in a triangle shape) or could have a different shape depending on the criteria of the chair specifications. A chair without a back or arm rests is a stool, or when raised up, a bar stool. A chair with arms is an armchair and with folding action and inclining footrest, a recliner. A permanently fixed chair in a train or theater is a seat or airline seat; when riding, it is a saddle and bicycle saddle, and for an automobile, a car seat or infant seat. With wheels it is a wheelchair and when hung from above, a swing. A chair for more than one person is a couch, sofa, settee or "loveseat" or a bench.
Considering this very thorough definition, one would think that the chair is well understood and that there is little territory left to explore. Surprisingly, many artists and designers enjoy the challenge of rethinking the “chair.” Here are some interesting examples of re-visioning this object.
Jordi Canudas (Barcelona, Spain) strives to achieve what he refers to as “action” in his work. He uses malleable materials; rubber bands, stretchy fabric, foam, and metal springs. He’s influenced by what is pliable, the melting process, solid to liquid, rigid to soft, order to chaos. I might add that at least in this piece, he’s also been inspired by nature, particularly the bat.
This loveseat/chair designed by Lila Jang gives new meaning to the phrase “climbing the walls.” She created this installation piece based on an 18th century French Louis XVI style armchair. Most likely she was also inspired by the frustrations caused by living in a small space and other pressures/limitations of urban life. She refers to it as “Small Space Sofa,” and “Tomorrow Sofa.”
Dutch designer Sophie de Vocht created this hybrid chair/rug/lounge. It is made of 1000 feet of yarn pulled through a metal wire mesh. This piece combines our love for sitting on the floor and appreciation for comfort with the youthful whimsy of a child’s homemade potholder.
Daniel Spoerri is a Swiss artist and writer born in Romania. He has been called “the central figure of European post-war art” He calls himself the “paster of found situations” and is known for capturing a group of objects in a type of assemblage, often the pieces are the remains of a meal. His interest lies in mapping what is on his table, sofa or chair at a particular moment, making each object important, describing and recognizing the significance of what each evokes.