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When steamed hot, the hard wood becomes flexible, Thonet invented it and became immortal with it. The round wood takes on almost snake-like properties. The basis for this drawing is his 214. A timeless design that is still highly sought after. I already turned this one into a spider. I had been playing with the idea of combining Medusa with a Thonet for some time, but it just didn’t want to fit together.
At first I was looking for that match more at the top, near the backrest, but see here when I managed to get rid of it…
From time to time the hexagonal frame keeps popping up in my work. This has everything to do with its isometric basis. Those who follow the developments in my pencil drawings have noticed that the third dimension has found its way in all kinds of ways, showy, subtle and devious. One of my earliest pencil drawings ‘Universe’ from 1992 finds a descendant in this one.
Shadows shadowing the chairs? Shadows that have come loose? Chairs that exchange their shadows with each other? This choreography of chairs and shadows is enhanced by the incident light adding extra shadows. The image therefore changes subtly under the influence of the variable light.
The tulip armchair by Eero Saarinen is a suitable candidate for my ‘Pedestal’ series, which now consists of four pieces, especially because of its base. The base of the chair is literally the pedestal under the framed drawing, making the whole into a free-standing object. For those who look further on my website, you will of course immediately see the link with the ‘Exit‘ series.
Making the light work for me. It remains a rewarding discovery. In fact, it’s so obvious that I’m surprised I didn’t think of it sooner. Watercolor lends itself particularly well to working with subtle tones and thus creating or suggesting shadows, for example. So after Shades of grey, Shadows and Rising Revolt I made this Shadows II.
Last spring during Huntenkunst’22 there were three somewhat older wooden German office chairs in a colleague’s stand. After a pleasant conversation at my stand, we came to discuss the chairs, how could it be otherwise. I photographed them because they appealed to me. As is often the case, the memory of it faded into oblivion until I made Pedestal. Then I immediately remembered these three chairs. The photo turned out to be still on my phone.
In the quest described in Exit VII, my other eye fell on this 1905/1906 design by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was designed for the Peter A. Beachy House in Chicago. The extremely high railing clearly has an aesthetic function. It is that height that caught my eye and, as it were, seduced me to this 3D drawing.
Actually looking for something else, flipping through one of my ‘chair books’, my eye fell on this design by Charles Rennie Macintosh. In short, it’s design, the height of the railing is an ideal candidate for an ‘exit’. The rest is history.
It’s almost impossible, especially for someone my age, not to have sat in a revolt chair somewhere in your life. Manufacturer Ahrend still makes this Friso Kramer design. One of the reasons to use this chair working on this idea. Of course, a recently purchased booklet, entirely devoted to this chair, gave it another boost. It also appears in my much larger work Crowd which I just completed, which is another reason.
A large number of very different characters all have the same goal, it seems. They come running and go to… But where are they going? Are they gathering and possibly getting ready for something that is about to happen? A speach or a performance. Or is it a protest march? Is there too little sitting nowadays? Or too much of course.
Step out of the shadows. When does a shadow cross into the tangible world? Is that possible? You can at least make the eye believe that. Albeit only very briefly, because then the ratio always comes into play.
It makes a difference that you can go through this ‘process’ again and again, that certainly contributes to the durability of the work.
The world of comics is never far away from me. Is Cees Braakman’s SBo2 in a hurry? Is he on the run? Or does he emerge stronger, supported by his shadows? Or is he being shadowed?
Questions but no answers, that is up to the viewer.
An expanded variation on Double Portrait that I made earlier this month. As is often the case, I was working on another drawing when this opportunity came up, so to speak. Then there’s nothing left but to try it out. To the satisfaction of the depicted chairs. Which in turn can be observed by taking the right position as a viewer.
A two-dimensional and a three-dimensional backrest of an Oirschotse chair mirror each other. We as viewers can then venture to reflect on reality, illusion and especially the area in between.