The Empty Chair in art from Van Gogh to Ai Weiwei

Angela Findlay

Wednesday 18th March 2020

                                 

 

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.