Long Benches, Modified Benches by Jeppe Hein, 2005-2013

The longest bench reminded me of Jeppe Hein’s work, and since his ‘Loop Bench’ was featured in 2009 he’s gone on to complete more commissions that reimagine the bench as a social and play sculpture.

The yellow ‘Bench Around the Lake’ (2010) is a permanent installation at The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, IMA – Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, USA.

“A series of different benches create an imaginary line around the perimeter of the lake. As if running underground, the benches intermittently sink into the grass and gently ascend elsewhere. The bench designs borrow their basic form from the typical park bench— elevated upon legs, they provide a base to sit on and a back to lean against. However, unlike ordinary benches, they are altered to various degrees to make the act of sitting a conscious physical endeavor. The line of seating is elongated into multiple visually connected segments, rising and bending with high arches and sharp turns. Their curved and unconventional forms offer not only an opportunity to relax, but also promote conversation between visitors, lending the work an active and social quality.”

Another long bench, the ‘Long Modified Bench’ was installed in a public square of Murau, Austria in 2012.

“The visitor may choose to use the benches for sitting, or instead observe them as works of sculpture by walking around and through their structures.”

Jeppe actually started his bench series with ‘Modified Social Benches 1-10’ of 2005, which have now been widely exhibited.  To the original ten he’s added ‘Modified Social Benches A-K, L-U, and 11-40.  You can see them all at his website.

“Due to their alterations, the benches end up somewhere between a dysfunctional object and a functional piece of furniture, and therefore demonstrate the contradiction between artwork and functional object.”


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