How Can a Chair be Happy-

Keen on the symbolic significance of each design and construction decision, Liu narrates his pieces through rigorous craftsmanship and unhinged explorations of materiality and textures. Enter the Sad Chair: contemplating the notion of happiness, distress, and the age-old debate over their universality, Liu conceived a black lounge chair, its personified form moribund and slack, exuding such despair that one can’t help but empathize with the agony of an inanimate object, which in itself is darkly funny. A generous swoop defined the chair’s seating area and an overhead hang –– an ergonomic design in which each spring that is attached to the metal skeleton is painstakingly cut and angled by hand, then strung together into a coherent unit to be sanded and smoothed, followed by a laborious process of shaping, with each step contributing to making the chair as comfortable as possible. Such emphasis on comfort and practicality heightens a sense of absurdity, with the image of a cozy, sleepy sitter in a miserable, dismal chair. “How can a chair be happy?” Liu asks. Truly that’s a separate question from the sitter’s own happiness? With its formal explorations of story-telling, the piece takes one to an anachronistic world that kneads the limitless imagination of childhood with the encumbering realities of adulthood.

Steel structure, modern spring covered with cowhide, foam, upholstered with faux fur.

59"H x 36"W x 42"D

2019

Photos by Menghan Zhou