Chaired Anxieties: Abandoned

1975, 5:15 min, b&w, silent

"In Adandoned, the first in the Chaired Anxieties series, Birnbaum enters a studio space that is empty except for a wooden folding chair. Barefoot and in jeans, the artist is seen from the neck down; her face is glimpsed only briefly. Performing in front of a fixed camera, Birnbaum enacts a series of poses that engage the chair as prop and support. She sits astride it, her legs spread and arms akimbo, her body open to the gaze of the lens. Alternately she stands, holding the chair or leaning against it, and assumes repeated postures. At times she taps her fingers or feet impatiently, as if waiting. Several times she walks slowly out of the frame, then returns to resume her interactions with the chair. Birnbaum's self-consciously choreographed posing, together with her careful framing of the image—tape on the floor appears to mark out the positions of the chair and her body—calls attention to the artist's awareness of and relationship to the camera." (Lori Zippay)

Text reprinted with permission from Dara Birnbaum: The Dark Matter of Media Light. Karen J.Kelly, Barbara Schröder, and Giel Vandecaveye. Ghent/Porto/Munich: Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst/Museu Serralves/Del Monico Books-Prestel, 2011. p. 163.

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1975, 41:12 min, b&w, sound