Raimund Abraham

Hinge-Chair, 1970-1971

« Classify objects by the number of juxtapositional possibilities. Create architectural objects through functional contradictions. Make a Hinge-Chair. Study the principal of the Hinge as réconciliation of the cut. Synchronize juxtapositions in space and time. When I move something, I move ». R. Abraham

This project was published in 1971 in an issue of IN devoted to “the destruction of the object”. Raimund Abraham broached the chair as a medium for conceptual research into space. He took a wooden chair, which he cut lengthwise into two equal parts; then he put it back together again using hinges. Several photographic sequences then present an analogical relationship between the split object and the female body: a naked woman, seated, alternately opens and closes her legs in complete synchrony with the chair. At her feet, the bits of a dismantled chair are spread out like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. So body and object seem subject to the ambivalent order of the hinge, which reconciles and unifies and then re-enacts the split second after a destructured state, achieving unity at the price of a primordial beginning. Abraham transfers this schizophrenic state to the ontological level, in an Expressionist representation that is very “Viennese”. At the centre of the photomontage, he inscribes this fault line in the universal marble of a monolith; the staging of the body, submitted to the cold understanding of clinical examination, just like the radiographic treatment of images, refers to the Actionist experiments and the installations of Walter Pichler at that time (The Bed, 1971); the head-on observation of the female body, with its hairiness and a wall as the sole horizon, brings forth the spectre of the psychiatric illustrations of the previous century. The chair becomes the central element of an arrangement aiming to evaluate a state of physical and mental crisis.

Aurélien Vernant

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