Reconstructed Secondhand Armchairs by Nina Saunders

Meet artist Nina Saunders who plays with the familiar by twisting it in surprising ways. She here discusses her humorous yet disturbing work – made from discarded upholstered furniture and stuffed animals – which comments on our world.

Saunders likes to work with domesticity, as domestic objects express a multitude of things – e.g. class – and furthermore prefers to use old pieces that already have a story: “It can take me a long time to figure out what the story is, but it’s always hovering in some collection I have.” When she made her very first furniture-based piece in 1989, she was instantly excited by the way your body instinctively relates to it: “A chair, for example, it’s already got a body, it’s got arms. It’s there for you, and you know it.” It’s only later that the mind follows, puzzled by the manipulation of the otherwise so acquainted furniture: “As soon as you start to change it, for example, if you use taxidermy, your mind boggles.”

“I think that’s been one of the most exciting things for me. That you actually do become part of the artwork.” The audience is integrated into Saunders exhibition, which reflects upon what’s happening in the world – from migration to climate change. Saunders finds that it’s easy to isolate yourself in your own comfort zone, which is why she describes herself as a kind of “cultural warrior”, whose work tries to “push the boundaries.”

Nina Saunders (b. 1958) is a Danish-born artist, who has been based in London since 1975. Saunders is particularly known for her work made from discarded furniture rendered dysfunctional as an object of utility. She has had several solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, and her works can be found in art collections in England and Scandinavia, e.g. Malmö Art Museum, Esbjerg Art Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and Hayward Gallery in London. (via louisiana)

Nina Saunders Website