Tables, Chairs & Dishes for Giants
A shift in perspective can shed new light on old designs – somehow this super-sized metal folding table or an otherwise-simple wood dining table for four seem unique, inviting interaction and contemplation despite their recognizable forms.
Los Angeles seems a suitable place for artist Robert Therrien to install his larger-than-life creations. This sculptural furniture has sat inside minimalist modern gallery spaces but also been set up in public squares and green spaces, changing the experience with each context.?The choice of boring beiges, browns, greens and other conventional commercial colors is very intentional – the more familiar they would otherwise feel, the more strange they seem when blown so far out of scale.
“Therrien is known as an object maker who transforms elements from everyday life into works of art that evoke mythic archetypes,” writes Gagosian Gallery. “Working both two- and three-dimensionally, he has created a deceptively simple oeuvre that lends itself to psychological interpretation with its evident fascination with childhood, its anxieties and fantasies. While his mentors would seem to include a generation of Pop artists, his work also attests to the impact of Conceptualism as well as folk culture, cartoons, and everyday objects.”
“In 1993, Therrien made a significant breakthrough that influenced all his ensuing work. No Title (Yellow Table Leg) presented a dramatic shift from the less representational objects that preceded it. This work and the next — Under the Table (1994), a colossal wooden kitchen table and chair set measuring ten feet by twenty-six feet — marked a new direction for Therrien. He found that by recreating everyday objects true to their original material and color, but on a greatly enlarged scale, the viewer’s relationship to them changed dramatically. In the current exhibition there are four gigantic sculptures, each of which relates to the acts of stacking and folding.”
Spent enough time walking around (or underneath) such creations, and you might just find your own living or dining room furniture feels smaller than ever – yet also more comfortably sized that you remember it being. If nothing else, you will sigh with relief at the much smaller stack of dishes waiting in the sink to be cleaned when you get home!
“Sometimes people ask whether I am a romantic or a realist artist. I would hope that I fall between the two. . . The ideal artist looks at the future and the past at the same time. The romantic artist spends more time looking backwards. The realist attempts to work in the present but emphasizes the future. However, if you try to predict the future, you seldom succeed.