Crass Chair   (2009)

  • Adam Chodzko / Crass Chair   (2009)
    1940’s Tecta Chair by Eric Lyons upholstered with leather jacket's Crass logo.
  • Adam Chodzko / Crass Chair   (2009)
    Crass logo
  • Crass Chair   (2009)

    1940’s Tecta Chair by Eric Lyons upholstered with early 1990’s leather jacket customised with the logo for Crass.
    95cm x 45cm x 50cm

    Commissioned as furniture for Lawson Park, Grizedale Arts, Cumbria.

    Adam Sutherland; text for ‘Can Art Save Us at the Millenium Galleries, Sheffield, 2009:
    Eric Lyons worked for Span, a high density housing ideology that suggested communal living within carefully designed shared buildings.  Lyons was a true community architect and his designs worked well and remain popular although many of the unique ideas of the Span schemes have gone, most importantly the communal dining.
    Crass were an almost anti-punk band who became synonymous with punk.  They doggedly pursued an anti-capitalist ideology from their commune in Essex. The commune, Dial House became a magnet for the young idealist, dog-on-a-string brigade and is still going, running compost toilet workshops and releasing organic gardening dvd’s, so still trying to save us.
    Adam Chodzko brings these two related, and in his mind problematic ideologies, together as a chair for Grizedale Arts new artist residency and farm Lawson Park, as a kind of warning; beware the chair, the artists’ chair, the poets’ chair, kingship. He creates a critique of an attempt to save the world, to create a utopia. That’s what artists have been doing since the 1960’s, being critical,  debunking the status quo, the systems so carefully established over millennia, they call it deconstruction – are we now looking to artists to reconstruct the mess for us? Could be a long wait, it’s been 50 years and there is little sign. Can art save us? Well, maybe it should because it got us into this mess.”

    The recycling of used articles of clothing, imbued with a mythic potential for transformation appears in Product RecallWhite Magic, M-path, Borrowed Cold Lodge, One day’s workwear worn through.  etc
    Chodzko has incorporated other late’s 1970’s/early ’80’s punk and post-punk music and references into his work as a means of creating connections of flows between current realities and value-systems as they have evolved from (his) teenage counter-cultural passions in the past.  These works explore the question; can this energy of youth still be channelled in new forms in the present?  RemixerDesign for a Carnival and The music from float 17…all use early A Certain Ratio music, while Whitstable Interiors is based on a the aesthetics of a punk fanzine.
    With Crass Chair, as with Whitstable Interiors, the appropriation of a resistant music (and politics) into a present concern with a materialist domestic style appears to present youthful rebellion as becoming erased by a focus on home-making and middle-aged family life. But there is a more complex entanglement of desires looping back and forth across time and space that subverts that linearity; despite ageing, life remains just as confusing, precarious and full of possibility! ( The dialogue of Whitstable Interiors suggests fluidity, wonder and innocence.  In order to mimic the quick, ‘careless,’ rakish, glued cut-and-paste text of late 1970’s punk fanzines Chodzko had to carefully reproduce these effects digitally, along with blurred text and smudging).  Similarly, Crass Chair uses a jacket bought in the late 1970s’s, handed on in the early ’80’s, customised with the Crass logo in the mid ’80’s, collected by Chodzko in the mid 1990’s, then upholstered in 2009 onto a 1940’s chair,  to be used as seating in by an arts organisation based in the Lake District.  (Now becoming an ‘art object’ perhaps it finally comes to rest, through being conserved forever?)

    In addition to Crass Chair Adam Chodzko was also commissioned by Grizedale to make a sign for their site at Lawson Park, Coniston, Cumbria: Us and Them.

  • Adam Chodzko / Crass Chair   (2009)
    The source leather jacket modelled by Chodzko's son Seth.