Hard Graft? The Office Chair as a Site for Decorative Art Interventions

Horton, Sarah (2019) Hard Graft? The Office Chair as a Site for Decorative Art Interventions. Home Cultures. ISSN 1740-6315 (Submitted)


As everyday life increasingly conflates home and work, the boundaries between the domestic and the workplace become ever more blurred. The practice-led research presented here tested the ability of decorative art interventions applied to a series of ordinary office chairs, to spotlight and critique this complex relationship. The everydayness of the chair, its familiarity and its easy comparison to the body, make it an ideal site for the ‘wearing’ of artistic interventions. This methodology is based on the fine art concept of intervention and draws on the theoretical positions of Bourdieu’s habitus (1979) and Michel de Certeau’s (1984; 1998) concept of resistance. The materials and techniques used to create these artworks have implications for identity and class, and ‘graft’ is used both as an allusion to labour and to the collage tactics adopted in these artworks. The embodied (sensual and haptic) qualities of these artworks are the features that afford them critical agency, whether through the addition of a Mickey Mouse antimacassar or a ludicrous pile of cushions.

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