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Kenneth Segal
Creation's Details
Title: Poor Life (from the series P'gam Chairs)
Year: 2000
Dimensions: 138x76x25 cm. 
Material: birch wood with steel bolts



The work is based on an essay by Gershom Scholem "A miserable life".
I began to use the P'gam Key to interpret the artists’ work.
The text speaks about the individual in Jewish culture who over the centuries has been suppressed. Whenever anyone tried to rise above the masses, he encountered the terms "Jewish nation," "collective Jewish heritage," "Jewish destiny," which trivialized his efforts. In the Jewish social structure, people became dependent on each other for identity; developing individual identity devoid of connection to the whole was unacceptable. This stifled revolution and innovation within Jewish tradition. According to Gershom Scholem, this was an inherent flaw within Jewish culture throughout history and should be reflected within the object.

My chair is based on Scholem’s text, utilizing the concept of the mutual dependence of the individual and the whole, in which the individual and society are symbiotic and cannot be apart.
The basic structure is based on a prayer seat in a synagogue. Each chair consists of a seat back and one set of handles and legs that are insufficient to keep it standing. Another chair must always be connected for functionality and the chairs are all joined together. The configuration leaves half of a seat at each end, implying a never-ending chain. There is always room for more but each seat must adhere to the general constraints in order to connect with the adjacent seats. The flaw within the chair’s structure reflects the idea of "defective by design," while expressing the interdependence between the individual and the whole within the Jewish social system.



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