Gianni Pettena

Wearable Chairs / Verstirsi di Siede, 1971-2001

The series of photographs comprising Already Worn Chairs tells the story of the performance Vestirsi di Sedie/Wearable Chairs, designed in April of 1971 by Gianni Pettena and ten students of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The group crisscrossed the city in single file, with “portable chairs” harnessed to their backs, stopping and starting in public spaces, on foot or by bus. In this performance, it was the body that activated and gave meaning to the object: the chair only taking on meaning when carried, otherwise, it became disjointed. The chairs were then exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, with accompanying documentation presented as a means of restitution, including Already Worn Chairs. Eight chairs were hung on the wall and two more were “imprisoned” in resin, one in the open position, the other “at rest.” This show was designed as an integral part of the artistic arrangement: transported into the space of the museum, these chairs have become ex-voto, testifying to an earlier vitality that is now over; this is also a way of reminding us that these objects are henceforth useless, because they are no longer carried by the body.

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