Ben and I have been working on our collaborative piece for the Objectspace exhibition.
After our first collaboration we were tossing around some ideas about how to continue this collaborative process of throwing an unexpected spanner in the works. We were considering sculptural display methods for our work, Ben said he could imagine some really strange looking chairs, and we agreed this would make a different jumping off point.
Chairs aren’t exactly jewellery, but they’re body referential applied arts, so not a complete departure.
We agreed to both ‘find’ a chair, which we would then dismember and send the parts to the other person to use with their chair.
I began hunting for a very fabricy, feminine chair, and after a bit of second hand store disappointment, managed to find one on Trademe which fitted reasonably well with my imagined chair.
It was quite a tidy looking chair, so I felt a bit guilty about destroying it, but I managed to repress that and hack off a substantial amount to send to Ben.
It was an interesting process, dismembering the chair and dissecting the layers. It had been recovered, and underneath the layers of plush local fabric and new stuffing were brown velvety fabric and straw viscera spilling out.
I loved receiving Ben’s worn chair seat, so filled with stories it was a work in itself with its worn and perished vinyl and rusted, stained and stabled base.
I set about trying to create by frankenchair, and decided to make the piece about mending with materials that already have a story.
Actually using found materials is quite a departure from my usual practice, which centres on the fake found, and it was really difficult to escape the essential nature of the chair. If I was going to do the process again, I think I’d strip the chair back to its frame, disrupt that, and then add material back from there.
I found the scale pretty unmanageable, I needed a larger studio to work in, I had to rescale my techniques and materials, and I had to keep getting my husband to move it around for me! Photography was also a challenge compared to jewellery scaled work.
This process has been really difficult for me, though I do love a challenge, and it’s been enjoyable too. I’m looking forward to seeing all the work once it’s installed and seeing what all the projects have evolved into.