The Empty Chair in art from Van Gogh to Ai Weiwei

We all use chairs! But over the past 150 years, artists across the world have been using the humble chair as a conduit for profound ideas on themes from protest, absence and memory to domestic or everyday life.

In Germany, Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys used empty chairs to draw attention to their nation’s past, while Gerhard Richter used them to explore the mundane.

In a conceptual piece, the American artist, Joseph Kosuth, juxtaposed 3 versions of chair to question what “chair” actually is. The Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum, adapted chairs to explore female gender politics and the Columbian artist, Doris Salcedo, stacked 1,550 between two buildings to address migration and displacement.

These are just some of the many diverse artists and uses of chairs we will be looking at in this talk. As in all my lectures, my personal connection, as an artist who has worked with chairs throughout her career, will aim to bring the subject alive.

MY TALKS

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Read my monthly blogs - relating to Criminal Justice, Germany’s and Britain’s differing cultures of World War 2 Remembrance, and art as a tool for change