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1980-2005 Print E-mail

CHAIRS


1 Chairs (1982), Latitude 53, Edmonton, 2001 | 2 Gregory & Greta (1996) | 3-9 Interrogation, 12th International Sculpture Conference, San Francisco | 10-11 Woman With Shroud (1980), Galerie Sagan, Essen, 2000

I was invited to the 1982 Twelfth International Sculpture Conference in San Francisco because of The Chair. It looked like a solid piece of sculpture on the Helen Shlien invitation card and the organizers asked if I had more of such objects. Yes, I replied, I would like to make an installation of twelve chairs. But what about transportation costs, how much would that be? Find me a dozen wooden chairs and fly me. The rest will fit into my hand luggage.

The twelve chairs had to be drawn and I worked on them during my first New York summer. My apartment was not air conditioned, my blood pressure was rising with the temperature and I suffered from insomnia. But what was bad for the artist turned out to be good for art. The nude self-portraits with pins and nails, a syringe and a knife, are marked by self-torture. Why are you doing this to yourself? – I kept mumbling to myself, and at the end called the series Interrogation. This ironic title was misread as a hint at the political situation in Poland, then under martial law. Later, I changed the title from Interrogation to Chairs.


1-3 Chairs (1982), Center for Art and Communication, Buenos Aires, 1986 | 4-5 Chairs (1984), New York | 6 Black Chair (1984), Manhattan Gallery, Lodz, 1995

Chairs has been the most popular of my installations. A seated figure is a standard theme of painting and sculpture, and a wooden chair’s frame behind transparent cloth appears as textile sculpture. Mildred Constantine, former curator of New York MOMA, has reproduced Chaise couverte (1970) by Tapies, Golgotha Chair (1974) by Gaetano Pesce and my Three Chairs (1982) in Lausanne on the same page of her book Whole Cloth (1997).


1 Black Cloth (1984) | 2-4 Black Chairs in the Snow, Princeton NJ, 1985 | 5 Helmut (1983) | 6 Head (1985), Château de la Petite Malmaison

The Hodder Fellowhip at Princeton University was a breakthrough in outdoor installation. For the first time, and for an entire year, I lived in a small town and discovered the pleasures of leisurely country life. I took completed sheets to photograph on bike rides along Carnegie Lake or through the forest and had more time than ever to do new work. Seven Black Chairs In The Snow were installed on the campus during the winter. They looked somewhat like photographic negatives or X-rays.

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