With his new long-term research project Searching Chairs, artist and designer Max Jungblut embarks on a new exploratory journey into the tensions between artistic autonomy and economic, capitalist production processes. This new series, to which new pieces will be added continuously, playfully takes the form of a search for a perfect prototype of a new chair, without having the actual goal of realizing an all-encompassing and finished final design. Instead, the search itself becomes the artistic project and the process of trying to reach a final goal becomes the source of unique artistic output.

Starting with a well-thought-out, sophisticated design, which evidently shows traces of earlier pieces from the various collections of Jungblut, the design features are meticulously marked and copied for a new piece. However, the artist introduces subtle changes in each successive chair in an ongoing quest to arrive at the perfect prototype, without actually having this as a final goal. The resulting alterations of the original design are at times quirky and playful, moving feet, back or seat in unexpected directions, and at other times more abstract and conceptual, questioning the practical function or aesthetic appeal of a chair. Through this artistic approach, the Jungblut references both craftsmen methods and artisan crafts, while simultaneously referring to notions of the assembly line, Fordism and mass production.

Although the series as a whole reveals the evolution of the original design in a quasi-industrial methodology, the form of the chairs can always be traced back to nature, as is the case with all of the works by Jungblut. In the successive designs of new alterations for the chair, the artist can play with color and material, the options spanning from pure wooden constructions to designs that incorporate felt or leather. Mostly, however, the artist chooses to finish the newly formed chairs using polyester, ensuring an enduring and stable chair, which ensures a comfortable and luxury seating experience.

The quest of searching for the perfect chair design, without ever arriving there, opens up a space for thinking about production processes and the artistic effort that always underlies such endeavors. Whether or not this method will finally result in a design that can be taken into production, the pieces that constitute this series at this moment are all unique, hand-crafted and each bare a specific artistic signature.

Guus van Engelshoven, Curator