The Empty Chair in art from Van Gogh to Ai Weiwei

Angela Findlay

Wednesday 19th May 2021


For the time being, all Lectures shown in this web site will be available only by Zoom. The Society plans to reintroduce “real” Lectures again at the newly renovated Ludlow Assembly Rooms at the start of the next Season in September 2021. One week before each Zoom Lecture, all paid up Members and Guests who have paid the Guest Fee will receive an email giving full instructions on how to access it. A reminder email will be sent the day before the Lecture. General information on accessing Zoom Lectures is given in the ASTV Guide to the use of Zoom which is now available in the Documents tab of this web site. Lectures start at 2.15pm.



We all use chairs! But over the past 150 years, artists across the world have been using the humble chair as a conduit for profound ideas on themes from protest, absence and memory to domestic or everyday life.

In Europe, Egon Schiele, René Matisse, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys used empty chairs for personal expression, while in America, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Kosuth and Bruce Nauman used chairs to develop the exciting new artistic movements arising in the sixties.

The Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum, adapted chairs to explore female identity and the Columbian artist, Doris Salcedo, stacked 1,550 between two buildings to remember anonymous victims of war.

These are just some of the many diverse artists and uses of chairs we will be looking at in this talk. And as in all my lectures, my personal connection as an artist, who has worked with chairs throughout her career, will aim to bring the subject to life.


Angela Findlay is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England. Her time ‘behind bars’ gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have on processing guilt. In the past decade, Angela’s Anglo-German roots led her to research Germany’s little known post-WWII culture of remembrance and apology in which the arts, once again, play a huge and vital role.

Angela has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art, a Diploma in Artistic Therapy and her paintings - often of empty chairs - have been widely exhibited.  More information at :