Working in both two and three dimensions, Robert Therrien transforms elements from the culture of everyday life into works of art that evoke classical archetypes, just like this giant furniture.
His deceptively simple oeuvre lends itself to psychological interpretation, given its evident fascination with the narratives of childhood, while remaining firmly objective due to its literal proximity to the real and its relationship to the minimal.
Robert Therrien was born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. His work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions.
Robert Therrien’s work references Pop and Conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp, childhood experiences, cartoons, and American design. Primarily known as a sculptor, he has also worked in painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography. While his early work was less representational, he arrived at a breakthrough with his 1993 work No Title (Yellow Table Leg) and Under the Table (1994), a wooden dining set blown up to gigantic proportions that viewers can walk under and around. By forcing the viewer to adjust his relationship to familiar objects, Therrien pushes his works toward the status of classical Greek sculpture.
In Under the Table, 1994, the viewer is both in the world of imaginary giants and in the world of remembered childhood. Fusing Alice in Wonderland with the Duchampian tradition of the readymade, Therrien constructs a doppelganger from an everyday object, both displaying his visual wit and actualizing literary or imaginative fantasy in three-dimensional space. The table exudes an extraordinary aura, compelling one to walk underneath the table and conjuring the physical memory of being under the table of one’s childhood home. Complicated and powerful, the work offers fresh ideas of what a table, sculpture, and memory can mean.
Therrien currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.