When I say I became infatuated with chairs this year, it intensely minimizes the ways in which I fell in love.
While a bold statement, this level of passion is necessary to convey a feeling of anchoring—a mooring—in the most ancient of furniture (second, perhaps, to the bed). They filled my mind, my feed, my drawings, and eventually, my work.
Chairs have been around for several millennia and they haven’t really changed. One might say that humankind’s best friend is not only the dog, but the seats that have accompanied us along the way; through reincarnation they appear, ready for duty, at the end of day or for a mealtime call.
The idea of this object is that of our experiences day-to-day: sitting down to work at our computers, pulling up a chair to eat, relaxing to watch tv or read. These chairs are our touchpoints for the movement of time.
I wasn’t the only one who fell hard for chairs this year. One swift scroll reveals that quarantine was a movement towards opening of eyes and hearts to the objects that fill our lives. We saw a resurgence of an interest in craft, with DIY chair builders creating their own versions of Enzo Mari and Max Lamb’s democratically distributed instructionals, while others fashioned miniature seating out of everyday objects.
In my own private life, they became a symbol of practice and reflection. I found myself drawing chairs both practical and outlandish again and again in my morning notebook. These drawings were an opportunity to look inside rather than around, digging into what it meant to truly know something, to find it’s infinite directions rather than its limit. These chairs—
Seat or seatless
—they held me.
And in the middle of it, I fell into something deeper.
I was lucky enough to be able to produce my own design this year, thanks to my good friends who run a carpentry and fabrication studio. I was lucky enough to feel my creation’s weight, sit down on it, see it live in a space. I was able to have my health and to find solace in it during the uncertainty of the pandemic. It became an enduring reminder of my own life, and all these chairs, clear in our vision, screens, and minds, have become stand-ins for our mortality. Only with a reassurance to have one is to have a body, and to have a body is to be alive.
More than a year into the pandemic, I imagine we’re all taking stock of our lives. “What have we done with the year?” Is that even the right question? I think a better question might be, “What has this year brought to us?” For me, this year brought me a newfound passion for an otherwise mundane object.
As we consider that question, I hope that, around the world, we are each taking a moment to rest, to think, to be grateful for the ever present chair. ⬤
@frankayzenberg / rendered by @svkk.e
@rainihome / photo by @anthonyprinceleslie
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