the gift

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LEGACY and its associated combination of rewards and debts are often at play within families of objects as well as families of people. ‘The Gift’ is composed of a chair designed by Kaare Klint that is built into a vitrine designed by Kaare Klint. The chair, elevated, amputated and dysfunctional in its new position within the vitrine, is both pacified and enthroned.

Kaare Klint’s own design language developed from stripping down and morphing inherited forms of traditional furniture so that they would more closely meet the body. But over time that stripped-down, functional furniture has created its own legacy.

A chair that once would have been associated with the democratic dissemination of quality design is inherited as an expensive icon of correct, exclusive taste. ‘The Gift’ queries how legacy is involved in a canonized object’s drift away from the body as it becomes more untouchable and distanced from greasy fingers, oversized bottoms and conceptual contamination from its context and influences.

‘‘The danger represented by the thing given or handed on is doubtless nowhere better sensed than in the very ancient Germanic law and languages. This explains the meaning of the word Gift in all these languages – on the one hand a gift, on the other poison’’

– Marcel Mauss