Tschabalala Self in London

Tschabalala Self in London

We all do it, but what does it mean to sit?

2 min read

At Avant Arte we want to put art where lots of people see it. Our first commission for a public work led Tschabalala Self to create her largest sculpture to date. A universal object and archetypal figure take centre stage. Subtle details, like chair legs that hover just clear of the ground, make the everyday transcendent. Placed close to King's Cross Station in London, the artist's serene bronze sitter will be met by thousands.

This figure represents all individuals, but women in particular, who understand the power and importance of simple gestures that assert their right to take up space.

Tschabalala Self

Standing 3 metres high, Seated uses an everyday object as an entry point for questions of permission and performance. Placing the work in a public place cements these ideas. For the artist, in its escape from domestic space the chair becomes a stage. Its sitter – poised, immaculately dressed, glancing to her left – emboldens onlookers to sit with confidence and comfort.

The patinated bronze sculpture, with finishing touches hand-painted by the artist prior to its unveiling, was placed at the northern end of Coal Drops Yard from October 2022 until February 2023. From April to October 2023, Seated will be on view outside the De La Warr Pavillion in East Sussex.

The simple joy of sitting

London presents a new context for Self's ongoing explorations of body politics and everyday acts. With a focus on comfort and discomfort, nostalgia and speculation, filmmaker Olivia Lifungula posed a series of questions to members of the public. Where do you sit, when do you sit – and why?

Accompanying editions

Two editions conceived and created alongside Seated enshrine it as a pivotal moment for Self’s practice. A luminous silkscreen print revisits the original reference work, while an edition of patinated bronze sculptures echo the form of their larger namesake. Watch our visit to the artist's New Haven studio to learn more about all 3 artworks.

Seated was produced in collaboration with Factum Arte, an interdisciplinary studio located in Madrid.

Installation photography · Lucy Emms

The simple joy of sitting
Director, photographer · Olivia Lifungula
Cinematographer · Jan Solberg
Camera assistants · Joshua Dadson, William Watson
Gaffer · Hamish Nichols
Sound operator · Jermaine Monero
Photo assistant · Guillaume Mercier
Groomer · Laila Zakaria
Casting · Unit C
Editor · Josh Homer
Colourist · Nielsen Bohl
Sound mix · Giselle Hall
Cast, in order of appearance · Gemma Rolls-Bentley; Monèt Akinyemi; Elizabeth Grolle; Sianon Foster, Hugo Amoah and Tiger-Lily Amoah; Tash Miles; Martina Beckford; Sola Olulode and Shannon Bono; Chandini Wilson and Maureen Man; Charlie Wong; Kyrah Wilde and Leah Toussaint; Joseph Kirkendall.



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