Deconstruction / Reconstruction: Chair




Jaime Patarch
Brian Jungen
Willie Cole
Helmut Palla (great examples)
Chris Vorhees


Art and Deconstruction, Construction, deconstruction and the practices of contemporary art

Deconstruction, form of philosophical and literary analysis, derived mainly from work begun in the 1960s by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, that questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions, or “oppositions,” in Western philosophy through a close examination of the language and logic of philosophical and literary texts. In the 1970s the term was applied to work by Derrida, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller, and Barbara Johnson, among other scholars. In the 1980s it designated more loosely a range of radical theoretical enterprises in diverse areas of the humanities and social sciences, including—in addition to philosophy and literature—law, psychoanalysis, architecture, anthropology, theology, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, political theory, historiography, and film theory. In polemical discussions about intellectual trends of the late 20th-century, deconstruction was sometimes used pejoratively to suggest nihilism and frivolous skepticism. In popular usage the term has come to mean a critical dismantling of tradition and traditional modes of thought.

Images of Deconstruction in Architecture (more formal than conceptual)




Materials / tools:

- Used wooden chair
-Hammer, for deconstruction
-.wooden dowels and wood glue
-Power drill
-Drill bits
-Jig Saw
-Spray Paint
-Additional tools may be needed (pliers, screwdriver, hand saw, etc).


Find an everyday ordinary wooden chair (bar stool, elementary school chair, dining room table chair, rocking chair, etc?. Deconstruct then reconstruct into an entirely different form. Take the object out of its original meaning, use, and expectations (re-contextualize or you could say re-familiarize the form).

HINT: Use concepts and skills learned from prior projects. Remember that at all times, you final solution must be formally successful from all points of view.. unless you make it a wall piece.


-You cannot add or take away materials (you must use all and only what you have)
-You may cut, glue, sand, screw, and paint (any questionable possibilities, please ask).


Consider something that you can take apart and construct based on tools you have available. You can do quite a bit with very little. Lack of tools does not equate lack of creativity. Begin to deconstruct the chair; at the same time study and experiment with the forms as you take apart the chair to consider for reconstruction. You may find an amazing form by making a few small changes. Within the process of working is when you find the ideas and possible solutions. Be aware of formal possibilities and conceptual interpretation. “Thy artist need not wear blinders”. “Lack of work equals lack of solution” (Sir Treadwell, 2008).

Questions to ask before and after completion of the project (these are questions we will consider during critique):

-What seems to be the dominant or most interesting component (texture, shape, line, form, etc)?
-Do I exploit the most interesting element of the object?
-Is the idea based on intense craftsmanship, concept, form, design, function, etc?
-Am I working conceptually or aesthetically or both?
-Do I take the object out of its original meaning, use, and expectations (re-contextualize)?
-What comparisons and contrasts can I make with the original source?
-What are other possible reconstructing solutions to consider?
-Where will I present this form (pedestal, floor, wall, outdoors, hanging)?
-How could the audience read into your work?
-Remember, there are a variety of answers to these questions. Consider all points of view.

Grading: Five C’s

-Idea development, preparation (ideas, drawings, designs and notes), and how well understood / executed the project.
-Appearance, Overall aesthetics of the form.
-Presentation, use of media, neatness, construction and assembly
-Originality, problem solving, uniqueness
-Does the chair seem complete and developed /evolved.

Consider reconstructing a sentence. This exercise will help initiate solutions when reconstructing an object.

Could you separate each word and reconstruct the sentence?
When you read below notice how each sentence transforms in meaning.

My fast is faster.
My is fast faster.
My faster is fast.
My faster fast is.
Faster my fast is.
Faster is my fast.
Faster is fast my
Faster fast is my
Is my fast faster?
Is fast my faster?
Is faster fast is?
Is my faster fast?
Fast is my faster.
Fast is faster my.
Fast my faster is.
Fast faster is my.

Separate each letter and reconstruct using a concept (alphabetically?) or formally (visually: possibly consider height (large letters to small letters).

aaeiffMrsstt .
ttssrMffieaa .
Ieaaff . ssMttr
.ireaasstffM y
Mt. ffryie aass
a a s s

e i a
s f y
f t r
a s

i a
s e f
f r t
a M


Now imagine the possibilities of deconstructing and reconstructing an object.

What object could you choose? The possibilities are endless.
Keep a lookout for possibilities in the grocery store, hardware store, household objects, the neigbors trash, etc.

The next four images are created by artist: Helmut Palla























Artist: Jaime Patarch




Artist: Jaime Patarch









Below are examples and images to initiate ideas for "chair deconstruction / reconstruction"

Also good for MULTIPLES project!