27 November 2009 - 30 January 2010
Sit Now presents a range of chairs from notable contemporary designers Johnny Swing, Rabih Hage and Karen Ryan.
The selection of works on show will bring into focus the current trend in contemporary design to treat the chair as a sculptural element. Each of the chosen designers has his or her own unique approach to design, but collectively they all share an interest in the creative process, the use of unconventional materials, and the creation of narrative quality in their work.
The pieces on display in ‘Sit Now’ each tell a story. From the old coins and baby food jars in Swing’s chairs, the industrial nails and ripped apart upholstery of Hage’s, to the discarded, second-hand parts in Ryan’s there is a certain biographic character to the works. They are all aesthetically interesting, sensorially stimulating, and intellectually provocative; One wants to walk around them, view them from all sides, and generally appreciate them as sculptural works, but one also wants to touch the nails, sit on the jars and interact with them each as pieces of furniture.
‘I play at positioning these objects together, crossing different histories and aesthetics, creating almost a three-dimensional poetry from form, function, colour, beauty, and memories layered with my underlying conscience about the society I live in.’
Karen Ryan’s furniture is as much about the process as it is about the product. She sees herself as a perpetual scavenger, constantly challenged by negative aspects of contemporary society when creating her designs. She makes her designs as autobiographical reflections upon society and the complex position of the designer where it is hard to justify adding yet another piece to the world of mass produced objects.
‘Beauty is subjective: perfection doesn’t mean beauty, it’s not important. What makes something great is its relevance to our lives and individual emotions.’
The two works by Rabih Hage on display in this exhibition are from his 2009 ‘Roughed Up’ collection, for which he decided to revisit several classic pieces from his 2005 collection to reveal a new beauty in each. The “Roughed-Up” collection as a whole is a celebration of the beauty of imperfections, of raw materials, and the process of construction. It is about knowing what you are consuming and where it came from. It is also a homage to the ephemeral moments, and forgotten people that have been involved in the process of each piece’s construction.
‘I want to make shapes that aren’t derivative... there are new shapes to be made. I have made new shapes... compound, complex shapes.’
Johnny Swing combines real objects, such as a chair, with materials that, before, held a very different function. He uses an array of materials from glass jars and coins to leather disks and clear plastic to make his chairs, couches, and lounges among many other things. According to Swing, this simulation process is known as ‘repurposing’: taking something that was and making it into something different that is.