Michael Riedel | One and Three Chairs [Winterthur] | 2016 03.12.2016 – 05.02.2017 | Fotomuseum Winterthur


One and Three Chairs [Winterthur], installation and performance, installation view Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2016 © Michael Riedel / Photo: Philipp Ottendörfer

The performance and installation work One and Three Chairs by Michael Riedel consists of a series of potentially endless re-enactments. Its starting point is a piece by Joseph Kosuth from 1965 with the same title, one of the foundational works of American conceptual art. Kosuth presented a chair in three different ways: as a constructed chair and thus a physical object; as a photographic image; and as a typographic copy of the word “chair” from the dictionary. The installation questioned the relationship of meaning between object, sign and representation, as explored by semiotic theory in linguistics.

In revisiting Kosuth’s work, Riedel takes this conceptual experiment a step further by extending it into different media through multiple transformations. He thereby opens up the endless possibilities and playful iterations enabled through appropriation and translation. The installation is embedded in a performative setting, in which four people with a background in the arts are invited jointly to discuss the work One and Three Chairs in front of an audience. In the Fotomuseum performance Andreas Blättler, Giovanni Carmine, Ute Holl and Sabine Schaschl talked about the work and its historical, theoretical and spatial points of reference. The conversation was recorded and transcribed and the text served as the basis for an architectural element which then became part of the installation itself.

The performance took place on Friday, 2 December at 7 p.m. during the launch of SITUATIONS/Re-enactment.