Through this male figure, which is headless and faceless, the masculine body is presented as a functional, mass-market product. Being easily adaptable, plastic has facilitated the creation of anthropomorphic objects in the worlds of art and design. These display great diversity in their forms, and the techniques used reflect their creators’ many and varied intentions. The seat section was directly cast on a model, using a synthetic, industrial material. In this way, the sculpture immediately raises the question of the relationship between artisanal crafts and manufactured products.

The Galerie Éric and Xiane Germain, which was situated on the rue Guénégaud in Paris, welcomed and supported young artists in the period between 1970 and 1980. It produced twenty of Ruth Francken’s chairs. In 1985, it was decided that the Galerie X + in Brussels would issue a new edition of the items. According to the initial plan, the gallery would produce 300 of the chairs, in black and white, each one numbered and signed. This project was never fully realised, due to a disagreement between the artist and the gallery. It seems that the re-edited collection comprised just thirty chairs.

Born in Prague, RUTH FRANCKEN [1924-2006] lived in Vienna and Paris, then moved to Britain when France entered the Second World War in 1939. She met the painter Arthur Segal in Oxford, where she attended his classes for a few months. She soon emigrated to America and lived in New York from 1940 to 1950, obtaining American nationality during this period. In 1952 she returned to Paris and settled there. She took up sculpture during a stay in Berlin in the mid-1960s, introducing an industrial element through her use of metal. In this way, she created works that blurred the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Indeed, Ruth Francken’s work reflects her desire to do away with stylistic barriers and categorisation in the domain of artistic creative activity.

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