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Maassen + Craens

The Chair Affair

“She felt his indestructible steel, his white rails, his rubber caps. He wasn’t interested in gentle caresses; this was just straight up-and-down.”

A chair may be simply utilitarian, but it can also be much more. Thighs shift on seats. Hands caress arms. Torsos snuggle against backs. Feet curl around legs. Sitting is, without a doubt, both a physical pleasure and an intimate activity. And so, we ask: Is sitting driven by desire? And how does a chair inflame that desire? The Chair Affair by artist Margriet Craens and designer Lucas Maassen, an expression of both their own intimate relationship and their artistic exploration of the implied intimacy of every         day objects, delves deeply into these questions. 

Kinder MODERN’s exhibition of The Chair Affair at PULSE New York (March 3-6, 2016 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City) is the US debut of this thought-provoking photo series, examining physicality and sexual desire through stunning prints and sculpture, accompanied by live readings of The Chair Affair’s companion erotic text by Twan van Bragt. This performance will give visitors the opportunity to view the work in its full context, hearing tales such as “The Internet Date” and “The New Secretary,”rife with titillating prose, while contemplating the visuals. 

Kinder MODERN is thrilled to present this provocative art and design project, as part   of the gallery’s dedication to the complex visual and functional narrative of family, as    well as the physical space in which a family lives and functions. Family extends far     beyond the rooms we share with our partners, our parents, our children, and our lovers and this exhibition aims to engender a stimulating dialogue about the dynamic intersections between love, design, relationships, and value.

Margriet Craens studied Dutch Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and Fine Arts at Den Bosch. She now works as a multi-disciplinary artist and writer, experimenting with art, design, food, and culture. Craens is the owner of the 70% BAR, where she explores the boundaries and intersections between the restaurant world and performance art. She has exhibited at the Cite Internationale des Arts Paris, Croxhapox Gent, Onomatopee Eindhoven, and Dutch Design Week Eindhoven. She has also participated in international projects and exhibitions at the Museum Z33 Hasselt, Fei Gallery Guangzhou, and the European Ceramic Workcentre. Craens aims to meld the tragic and the comic in her installation and video artwork, as she explores the complicated interplay between illusion, reality, and personal beliefs. 

After studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Lucas Maassen began his career as an independent conceptual designer. He has exhibited internationally at MoMA New York, Grand Palais Paris, Vitra Design Museum Weil am Rhein, Taiwan Design Museum Taipei, and the van Abbemuseum Eindhoven. In addition to his design practice, Maassen teaches at the Social Design Master program at the Design Academy Eindhoven and at the Academy of Art Communication and Design in Tilburg. Maassen has previously brought chairs to life, in Yoga Chairs (2008), The Singing Chair (2010), and The Sitcom (2014), all part of his ongoing playful exploration of perception and reality.

The Chair Affair is a natural extension of Craens and Maassen’s individual work, and together they developed a striking and intensely personal photo series. They have described their project as sketch-driven and autobiographical; the result of a confrontation between their two very different practices.