Pliessnig, Matthias,b. 1978,Thonet Chair Wrapped in Bent Wood, 2007, H. 42 x W. 22 x D. 27 inches, Steam bent white oak, Collection of the Artist

When I look at this chair by Matthias Pleissnig, the phrase: “No End No Beginning: Loopy Strength” pops into my head. You can find this chair on display in the Intelligent Design exhibition.

When I first saw this piece, I thought it was quite interesting, thoughtful and strange-I had to stand and stare for a long while.  As “cool-looking” as it was, I did not get it.  What are your initial thoughts about this piece?

I still probably don’t get it, but something about this piece is so inviting and attractive to me, that I still have to stop and stare at it each time I walk by it in the galleries. Perhaps it is the fact that this is a chair, but there is so much movement to this inanimate object. This movement is personal to me and it changes each time I view this piece. Everyone I speak to about this piece also agrees on its inviting rhythm.

In looking at this work, can you tell that it is chair?  Do you also, secretly, wish you could sit on it and test it out?

On a side note, I’d like to share that this notion of people coming together in thought, through looking at the same piece of art, is what enthralls me, personally, the most about art in general; and I firmly believe that this is one of the main purposes of art.  Do you think art has a purpose besides just being “pretty?” Forgive my digression…

After recognizing and understanding that this is, in fact, a chair, I started to focus on and obsess over the twisted, loopy covering, trying to decipher where it begins and where it ends-trying to make sense of the scheme. Instead, I just got lost and caught up, going up this way, down that way. I was totally pulled more and more into the chair and sort of became a part of it/in it.  If you have seen this chair in our galleries, what were your thoughts and sensations the longer you looked at it?

Today when I see this piece, I actually see it as a metaphor for man/woman/human; how each turn, each loop in our  lives shapes us, makes us the  individuals we are, though we all start with the same basic structures: bones, marrow, etc.  And, it is these strange curves that make us so attractive and endearing to one another.  Do you think a chair could be or mean something more than just being a piece of functional furniture?

This chair not only makes me love and find charming the oddities in others, but in myself as well.  What feelings and thoughts do you have and take with you after seeing and experiencing this particular piece of work?  Please share!

-Sumreen Z Chaudhry, Michener Intern