In Saint James’ Church
Speaking Chairs is an investigation into the reallocation of the iconic church or prayer chair that has fallen into disuse. They systematically disappeared from churches, exchanged for more comfortable seats, or discarded in the wake of secularisation. They are stacked metres high in dark cellars, waiting for a second life. As silent witnesses of a rich past.
In the course of 2022, craftsmen and designers, students, local residents, artists and performers, young and old, known and unknown and with different cultural and religious backgrounds were given carte blanche to recreate a chair into a new object. From dignified restoration to radical transformation. Each church chair was thus given a new identity: a new story, a new function, a new name.
By uniting different people around the same task, we wanted to create synergy, discussion and recognition of the craft, but also to encourage reflection on faith, reuse and respect for (religious) heritage.
The transformed chairs are presented during an exhibition in Saint James' Church, where each one will preach its newly composed story. A hymn to the individual imagination. Amen!
A project by Onbetaalbaar in co-operation with CAMPO, 019, Design Museum Gent
With the support of the Flemish Government