I came across a programme on Allen Jones on Sky Arts TV one night, and felt so appalled at the ‘furniture sculptures he tried to pass off at Art that i made a mental note to put him on my blog as soon as i had a minute, particularly as the issue i have decided to concentrate on for our professional development practice was that of ‘ethics’.

Allen Jones went to Art School in the 1950’s, along with other famous artists such as Peter Blake and David Hockney, and was around at the time when Abstract Expressionism was being taken over by a new form of ‘Pop Art’. The first painting he sold was entitled ‘interesting journey’, which i absolutely love! The boldness of the line, the contrast of the complementary colours, and the lack of need of detail makes for a truly powerful image.

It was said of Pop Art Portraiture – in the London Evening Standard (www.thisislondon.co.uk/arts/review-23417318-h… the following :-

“Portraiture was at the heart of Pop in a way that it hadn’t been in art for decades before. Instead of obsessing about paint texture, brush stroke gesture or basic bodily functions, Pop artists obsessed about the visual totems of their society. They wanted to capture in their works the hypnotic spell of instantly recognisable images from the media and advertising industries – an aura which was easier to represent visually than explain verbally. This was a matter of both style and subject.”

And so i wonder why he moved from such amazing work to the creating the figures below?Here are a couple of images showing the piece he created called ‘the chair’ (created in 1969)



The image above also shows an upright piece that he calls ‘hatstand’. His comment about the pieces is that he is ‘inviting the figure  to come out of the picture’, and i am all for sculpture and different forms of Art, but i wonder why his focus is on women posed in such a degrading and submissive manner? The fact that you can sit down on one of the pieces whilst she is positioned in such a vulnerable position only exaggerates the feeling that this is maybe how he views the womens role in society? The fact that they are all dressed in a similar style often seen in S & M situations would also suggest that he likes the thought that women are there to be dominated?

Maybe i am wrong, and that he had some other reason for creating these images, which are now classed as forniphilia (a form of sexual bondage that involves making furniture designed to incorporate a bound person). I do have to say that i wouldn’t be as outraged if i could find  creations by him depicting men in similar submissive, and dominated styles.

After he had crested the chair someone threw acid over it in the Tate Gallery in London, causing great damage to the piece, as they said that he shouldnt be allowed to insult women in this way. I have to say that i totally disagree with any form of vandalism and think there are other, and better ways of putting your point across, but i do have to agree to the sentiment, and i think that as Artists, who create images for public consumption, it is important to look at our responsibility to society, as well as our morals and ethics, and what message we are putting across to society as a whole. Each one of us has freedom of expression, and should be allowed to create whatever we want, but maybe his works should not be shown not be endorsed by the Tate (which is what they do when they agree to display them) and in fact should be restricted to being shown in S & M dungeons and get togethers, or kept in Allen’s front room?