CERTAIN CHAIRS

A response to the book Certain Chairs, a memoir by Barbara Blackman


The catalyst for Certain Chairs is a memoir of the lives of Barbara and Charles Blackman which uses inanimate objects as the focus for its storytelling. Responding to this book I have taken discarded chairs, altering and transforming them into sculptural pieces thereby interfering with their original structure, purpose, and value. Photographing the altered chairs in domestic environments further disrupts our tacit knowledge of the assumed function of the chairs. Exploiting the human tendency towards anthropomorphism, the denial of the chairs’ original utility liberates a potential for psychological transference. As with the empty chair technique of Gestalt therapy, the paradox of simultaneous presence and absence offers the viewer an opportunity to develop new understandings as they cultivate their own stories and interpretations.