Deformities and pregnant pauses

Nina Saunders, The Age of Reason, 1995

If rice can be art – and clearly it can be, and good art at that – then so can all sorts of everyday objects and materials. Like chairs. Admittedly chairs might more usually be expected to count as, say, furniture design, but attempts to categorise things can so easily go wrong and sometimes a chair just isn’t a chair. Such as when it’s afflicted by a large spherical tumour. Or when it starts to collapse in on itself. Or, well, any number of things really…

In the confusing world of Nina Saunders furniture seems entirely unable to retain any significant degree of functionality. On one level her chairs retain a familiar form but by the time Saunders has finished with them they inevitably fail as furniture. Luckily they succeed as sculpture and as baffling but fascinating objects.

In The Age of Reason the button-back, familiar from Chesterfield sofas, has been occupied by what seems to be a very pregnant belly. If the chair itself is pregnant perhaps it’s not unreasonable that there’s no longer space to sit down.

Wasting, 1998

Wasting is a chair that seems to have started to melt. The structure of the chair is collapsing in on itself as the material that covers it has leaked out to form a pool on the floor. Though inconvenient, a chair pregnancy could be read as a positive state but here things seem to have gone badly wrong.

Sincerely Yours, 2007

Another chair, Sincerely Yours, seems to have been caught unawares and buried under the weight of a falling missile in the form of an oversized cushion. I particularly like the contrast between the perfectly ovoid cushion which seems to have leapt into the lap of the unsuspecting chair like an over zealous puppy that doesn’t yet understand its own strength.

So many chairs and nowhere to sit. I think I may need a little lie down.

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