Adam McEwen Instrument, 2014

The tenant’s cans from when I was a kid, they keep me interested. And I do it because I believe, I suppose, that if I stick a chair leg in the can, and it disturbs me and says something, then it will say something to somebody else-to someone I dont even know. I dont really know what the feeling I’m trying to evoke is, but in this case it’s not a good feeling.
Adam McEwen

Instrument, 2014, chair, beer cans

The work Instrument was presented in the artist’s solo show « Non-Alignment Pact » at the gallery Art: Concept in 2014.
This work, like Conduit, which was also presented in the exhibition shares a common mise en scène of a tortured yet absent body. Conduit, a steel pipe stuck in a desk chair, creates a vertical axis that we imagine penetrated the seated form. It’s reminiscent of a cinematographic image of an empalement, (Cannibal Holocaust) which left its trace of a generation of cinephiles.


Adam McEwen Conduit, 1997-2014, chair, steel pipe

We also find this relationship to cinema in Instrument, a work which plays at once with torture and desire. A chair is usually used for working at a desk or at a table. It’s what allows humans to think in a comfortable way. In this sculpture, Adam McEwen transforms it into a place of conflict, a place of doubt where demons troubling the concentration necessary to creation. The chair is at once trapped and a trap, it becomes a sort of castrating embrace.


Adam McEwen Instrument, 2014 (detail)