Gian Andrea Poletta

2 Chairs I Daily

Found chairs, engines, 2019–(2023)
Dimensions Variable

I started thinking about animated sculpture while studying art at IUAV. During that time, I was working on my first life casts, creating molds of my head using wax and plaster since bronze or any other metal was beyond my budget. Nevertheless, I had this idea of creating a self-portrait with an aluminum-cast head mounted on a rotating engine. This engine would be digitally controlled by software connected to the GPS of my phone. In my mind, the software would control the engine and rotate the head in the direction of my location. I imagined the sculpture exhibited in a museum, remaining still for days or even months, only changing its orientation when I traveled.

However, the first animated work I actually created was 'Daily,' realized in 2012. During that period, I often slept in my studio in Venice on an incredibly uncomfortable foldable couch. It was around May, and Italy was experiencing a series of terrible earthquakes that demolished historic buildings, industries, and homes in Emilia Romagna. One of those earthquakes was strong enough to reach Venice, waking me up in the middle of the night and forcing me to flee from the fifth floor of the studio building.

This period of strange turbulence somehow led to 'Daily,' which was an assemblage of the cheapest vibrator available online and the first page of a daily newspaper. This experience rekindled my interest in animated sculpture, making me realize the inherent liveliness and fragility of things.

Shortly after, I explored the same idea with 'Moonwalk' in 2012, where I combined vibrators with Nike sneakers, activating them. I contemplated how sculptors throughout history have attempted to animate their pieces indirectly, using techniques like chiaroscuro or contrapposto. It's fascinating how even ancient Greek artists tackled this fundamental sculptural problem with the Kouroi and the concept of a walking figure.

'2 Chairs' in 2019 falls within this trajectory, expanding my fascination with animated objects and bringing it to the larger scale of a living room while maintaining a similar relationship to the viewer's body. The initial version of this work was destroyed, but I salvaged the vibrator engines and reconstructed it using two discarded chairs found on the streets of Berlin.

Daily newspapers, engines, 2012–(2023)
Dimensions Variable