John Angelo Benson (born 1971 in London, England; lives and works in London).
A series of reformatted staples of modernist furniture, but with their practical components replaced by uncomfortable and dangerous elements. Le Corbusier’s Grand Confort chair, for example, is made of straw.
“On the border between art and design, Benson upholds the tubular chrome steel structure and the original cubic shape, replacing leather components with an unusual material, straw. With humour, Benson seems to undermine the architectural thinking of Le Corbusier, but paradoxically when he undresses the chair he emphasizes its skeleton and structure in a deconstruction process that leads us to the rethinking of the main modern principles. Although it may be seen as an iconoclast gesture, ‘Naked Confort’ highlights the value of the original piece by reinterpreting it. In his ‘Corrupted Classics Collection’ Benson also works with the Red-Blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld and the Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich to create ‘Red and Blue, but clear’ and ‘Mies Lobby Trap.’ The choice is categorically incisive because he picks from our collective memory three classics of modern design which are universally recognized. Or we know the original works or we will not be able to interpret Benson’s pieces. With that he makes us more aware of the timeliness of these icons, especially when our material culture has transformed them into appealing images widely reproduced and consumed, with a series of copies, reproductions and re-editions distancing themselves from the modern original. Ultimately, the result is a reflection on our own memory of the modern, its significance for society, heritage and cultural importance.”
—Bárbara Coutinho, “Why Preserve Modern Now?,” Do.co.mo.mo Journal 46, no. 1 (2012): 6.