October 2022 marks the beginning of Avant Arte’s public art programme – a moment at the crux of our mission to make art more accessible. On view close to London's emblematic King's Cross Station, a bronze sculpture by American artist Tschabalala Self will be encountered by thousands.
Across an expansive practice centred on textile paintings and stretching from fashion to theatre, Tschabalala Self asks what it means to have a body. In private, and in public. At rest, and in motion. Black bodies and femme bodies – those of individuals that deserve more, and better – are particularly prominent. Many of them are re-assembled from chance encounters in the streets of Harlem, NYC.
Taking a seat is a universal act of leisure and calm. I wanted to create a monumental sculpture for the public that spoke to this simple joy. The woman is strong, beautiful and self-possessed. She 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 space 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.
Seated will be on view in London’s Coal Drops Yard from October 5 until early 2023.
A pair of editions conceived and created alongside the sculpture enshrine it as a pivotal moment for Tschabalala's practice.
The first of two editions is based on the original reference work for Seated. Tschabalala worked closely with artisan printmakers to transform her original painting into a luminous 21-colour silkscreen in an updated palette of yellow and teal.
The second edition – 25 cast bronze sculptures, each with a unique surface patina – translates the form of its monumental namesake to a domestic scale. Both works will be available on Thursday October 13, exclusively on Avant Arte.
We’ll add to this journal as the collaboration unfolds. Register for artist updates below to stay in the loop!
Tschabalala photographed in her New Haven studio by Christian DeFonte.
Tschabalala photographed at Brand X, NYC by Christian DeFonte.
Tschabalala photographed at Factum, Madrid by Oak Taylor-Smith