Caroline Broadhead’s new body of work sees the artist returning to the chair form. She’s drawn to their familiarity of design, and their physical closeness to the body. Chairs and stools are made to support the body and their dimensions are dependent on the body’s dimensions. They have corporeal terms - a seat, a back, legs and often arms and feet. She enjoys interfering with the functional aspect of these pieces to render them unstable and unreliant; whether they are made weaker, wrapped in a jewel-like surface, or hollowed. In doing so, she creates a discourse around material and expectation.
Broadhead demonstrates her diverse practice by incorporating intricately beaded pieces in this exhibition, further teasing out how images are not fixed, but easily lost and made meaningless. Other works shown include two picture frames, dissected and then reconstructed. These create flexible structures which lack the rigidity needed to create a certain boundary to an image.
These acts of transformation and reinvention, taking familiar objects and upending our perception of them, create a kind of kinetic energy that is uniquely hers.
Caroline Broadhead trained at the Central School of Art and Design, London. Public collections that hold examples of her work include the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She was the winner of the Jerwood Prize for Applied Arts: Textiles in 1997, and has held major retrospectives at CODA, The Netherlands in 2018, and at The Lethaby Gallery, London in 2019. A Central Saint Martins alumna, Broadhead held the positions of Jewellery and Textiles Programme Director and BA Jewellery Design Course Leader for nearly ten years at the College until her retirement in 2018 and is now Professor Emerita. She continues to teach on the course and is a guest lecturer at various institutions in and outside the UK.