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Craft Vic captures the wild and experimental in The Chair

From the dawn of time the chair has been an integral part of furniture history. The shapes and styles are multifarious however, a chair sets the scene wherever it is positioned. And so, the backdrop is set at Craft Victoria, with an exhibition of chairs that affords a bird’s eye view of some of the many interpretations and concepts that have been developed into a chair.

Craft Vic captures the wild and experimental in The Chair

Trent Jansen for Broached Monsters by Broached Commissions, 'Pankalangu Arm Chair', 2017, photography by Dan Hocking.

A chair is simply a chair, or is it? Not merely a piece of furniture to sit on, the chair is the ultimate in design and aesthetics, and an exhibition at Craft Victoria celebrates this most ubiquitous of objects through a diverse and outstanding group of designers.

The exhibition, aptly named, The Chair, showcases 24 chairs from 31 Australian designers, artists and makers. With a particular focus on exploring material and utility, the array presents an outstanding collection of styles, experimentation and resolution from the who’s who of Australian design.

‘The Chair’ exhibition at Craft Victoria, photography courtesy of Craft.

The creatives featured include Anna Varendorff, Ash Allen, Ashley Eriksmoen, Bern Chandley, Bonhula Yunupingu and Damien Wright, Brodie Neill, Brud Studia, Cordon Salon, Dean Norton, Duncan Young and Noah Hartley, Georgia Weitenberg, Isabel Avendano-Hazbun, James Lemon, Jess Humpston, Jill Stevenson, Johnny Nargoodah and Trent Jansen, Nicole Lawrence and Thomas Coward, Liam Mugavin, Marta Figueiredo, Michael Gittings, Sam Tomkins, Iain [Max] Maxwell and Ben Ennis-Butler, Trent Jansen for Broached Monsters by Broached Commissions, Two Lines Studio and Zachary Frankel.

‘The Chair’ exhibition at Craft Victoria, photography courtesy of Craft.

Nicole Durling, Craft Victoria’s executive director says, “More than any other piece of furniture, the chair has been subject to the wildest creative experimentations – from the self-taught tinkering in their sheds through to the most esteemed designers in the world. What is it about this object that continues to capture our imagination?”

What is it indeed. Perhaps, because a chair is a part of life, however one lives. It can be ornate or pared back, tall or short, wide or narrow, with arms and without. A chair is a personal object that can be rustic or refined or both simultaneously. It is both utilitarian and an object of desire that always serves a purpose. It is the object that every designer wishes to create at some point in their career, exploring the process to refine and stylise a concept through form, function and material.

‘The Chair’ exhibition at Craft Victoria, photography courtesy of Craft.

The Chair is a must visit exhibition that will heighten awareness of design and portray this everyday furniture piece as so much more than a seat. The imaginings of the 31 creators are on show, and it is astounding just how disparate designs can be.

“This exhibition offers an exploration and refinement of material, and questions what a chair is and can be. The Chair explores the significance of chairs as markers of design evolution and as objects embedded with meaning, expression, experimentation and utility,” comments Eliza Tiernan, Craft Victoria curatorial and programs manager.

Also on display is the winning design for the MPavilion 2022 Chair Commission. In partnership with MPavilion, Craft Victoria participated in the selection panel for the commission selecting, Re-pete, by University of Canberra design trio Sam Tomkins, Iain [Max] Maxwell and Ben Ennis-Butler as the winner. Re-pete will be used throughout the MPavilion 2022 program as seating for public talks, gatherings and events and this is the opportunity to review a prototype of Re-pete prior to the opening of MPavilion on 17 November 2022.

Craft
craft.org.au

Nicole Lawrence and Thomas Coward, ‘Tebunginako’, 2021, image courtesy of the artists.
Brodie Neill, ‘Cowrie Chair’, 2013, image courtesy of the artist.
Michael Gittings, ‘The Throne of Eve’, 2022, photography by Annika Kafcaloudis.
Jess Humpston, ‘Ch-air’, 2022, image courtesy of the artist.
Georgia Weitenberg, ‘Bent Wood Chair’, 2021, photography by Lauren Bamford.
Johnny Nargoodah and Trent Jansen, ‘Ngumu Janka Warnti (All Made from Rubbish)’ Chair, 2020, image courtesy of the artists.
Sam Tomkins, Iain [Max] Maxwell and Ben Ennis-Butler, Re-pete, 2022, winner of
the 2022 MPavilion Chair Design Commission, photography by Nick Burrows.
Marta Figueiredo, ‘P X A Chair’, 2022, image courtesy of the artist.
Anna Varendorff, ‘Concentric Chair’, 2022, image courtesy of the artist.

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