12 chairs by Jeremy Couture

An exhibition at Materia (Quebec)

Couture vanish chair.jpg
Photo: Jeremy Couture

Vanish chair

Who would have taught that an exhibition of chairs could bring about so many considerations? As one sees the simplicity of the chairs exhibited at Materia, it appears evident that their designer had no intention of making chairs for his sole aesthetic pleasure and that of a potential buyer. The designer is the 30 year old Jeremy Couture, born in Quebec, who studied graphic design in Finland. These chairs are part of his project to obtain a master's degree.

As a matter of fact, this project created quite a stir. Since there were no furniture design classes as such in the program, the jury expected posters or logos but got chairs instead. The outcome was very positive however.

Jeremy got his degree, was a laureate of the Sato competition at the Museum of Art of Helsinki, got great reviews and was nominated as a finalist for the competition Young Finnish Designer of 2008.

The concept of the project is impressive and when I asked why he chose the chair, he answered: "It imposed itself to me simply because of its status as a common object that we use daily. We use it, he added, to a point where it becomes so familiar that it tends to become invisible".

There is of course an undeniable formal and aesthetic research, in this project that, paired with certain surprising end results, participate fully in bringing the viewers attention to the chairs. There are, among others, the alphabet chairs, the slide chair, the chair with its front legs apparently suspended in the air.

These are some of the tricks used to make the object visible to us. I had previously noted that he wanted to make visible what is invisible thus making the object complete. I had also noted that he was questioning the relation that we have with objects, relations where they are appreciated and thus preserved or on the contrary discarded and replaced. "I want to see, he said, if it's possible to bring the relation between the individual and the object closer the relation existing between individuals."

In other words, he wants to change the way we sense the objects around us. Such a change, as he puts it, will lead individuals to rethink the very nature of objects, the way they are produced and presented to the public, their existence even.

This sounds particularly interesting in a world like ours where we are driven into a cycle of excessive consumption. This first one man show is a very promising beginning for Jeremy Couture and we are all eager to see his new propositions. But in the meantime let him have all encouragements.

It is interesting to note that the exhibition 12 chairs by Jeremy Couture, presented at Materia, is part of the program of the city of Quebec: « Première ovation », to support young creators.