minne atairu
Oct 18, 2014 6:46AM

This exhibition is shaped by the confluence of shared and disparate vantage points of diverse cultures. It emphasizes the importance of the “chair” to human life by illuminating it through beliefs and lifestyle. The title of the exhibition, “Cheers to Chairs” is inspired by the fact that the sitting position perceived as a gateway to intellectual activity is facilitated by a “chair”. In addition, the exhibition seeks interpret chairs using contexts such as the metaphysical, play and experiments. Thus, it is guided by two themes-distortion and motivation.


Introduced by a thymiaterion in the form of a sitting Comedian Actor, the subject is presented as subsumed in laughter. This position continues through the display of a Bronze Shakyamuni Buddha and Mahakala on textile in the pristine Yoga sitting position. The Last Supper by Sebald Baham shows the a group sitting with concern towards a subject.

This exhibition also looks at ideologies that oppose the value of the "chair". A contrast here is provided through the beliefs associated with wearing an African mask. This accounts for the inclusion of the Ere Gelede Headdress and Korwar Ancestral figure in the display. In Africa, it is a general belief that a mask transforms the subject into a supernatural being, this prevents the subject from participating in secular activities such as 'sitting in public'. On the other hand, worshippers of ancestral figures such as the New Guinea Korwar are not seen standing while in mediation. Sitting is considered a form of veneration, therefore prayer and other forms of religious acts are done when sitting.

The display of 3 playing cards made by print-maker Andreas Benedikt Gobel in 1764 is significant in “Cheers to Chairs” because it emphasizes the sitting position and the chair as a means to social interaction. Players cannot concentrate on the game without a chair.


Pablo Picasso has rendered numerous paintings of women in the sitting position. However, “the Red Armchair” will be displayed in “Cheers to Chairs” as Picasso was the pioneer of abstract forms. This leads to Henri Matisse's “Nu Bleu I” in which the subject is positioned as sitting but without a chair. The interest here is in the suggestion of a position that reflects sitting when a chair is not available. The “Yellow Collage” by Richard Diebenkorn is especially remarkable for its almost abstract portrayal of grandeur, despite the use of raw colours. These works reflect the eccentric style that defined the beginning of abstract art thus distortion.

Robert Rauschenburg's spectacular representation of the chair as an object removed from its original context and made to interact with the viewer through an illusion will be displayed. His soundings installation famous for its experiment with art and technology was conceived as a collaboration between the visitor and the artwork by Rauschenburg. This surreal work will be the interactive section of the exhibition.

This selection of thirteen artworks-paintings, sculptures, textile among others, focuses on the fantastic representation of the sitting position that has inhabited artists oeuvre for centuries.

minne atairu