new-york

John Armleder

John Gibson Gallery

In Samuel Beckett’s Murphy (1938),the eponymous hero ties himself to a teak rocking chair with seven scarves, which, unlike the seven veils of the dance, keep revelation private. He rocks himself into an alpha state, the achievement of which is signaled by his tumbling, chair and all, onto the floor. Like Murphy, John Armleder has seemed determined to get rid of the body through solipsistic contemplation; and he has used furniture as a means to this end. An Armleder drawing from 1979 offers a schematic chair in silhouette, with the circle on its seat containing another silhouetted chair; both are askew If the globe is analogous to a thought bubble, this chair, like most of Armleder’s furniture, imagines itself. It is like Murphy’s mind, which “pictured itself as a large hollow sphere, hermetically closed to the universe without. This was not an impoverishment, for it excluded nothing that

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