Prickly Pair Chair, Gentleman Style
- Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers, Mexican, 1977-
- Born: Mexico City, Mexico
- Work Locations: London, England, Mexico City, Mexico
Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers, Prickly Pair Chair, Gentleman Style, 2009. Banak wood, medium-density fiberboard, paint, and upholstery; 71 x 47 x 20 x 20 in. Denver Art Museum, acquired by exchange, 2016.2. © Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers
Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers’s Prickly Pair Chair is a playful remix of Mexican and European cultures. This combination of cultural inspirations is drawn from Gonzalez Wohler’s own background; born in Mexico City, she has studied and worked in London since 2005. Here Gonzalez Wohlers has altered an armchair designed in the Louis XV style to resemble the nopal cactus, or prickly pear, a symbol of Mexican heritage and national pride. The chair’s vivid green tufted upholstery and pink paint replicate the bright colors of the cactus in bloom.
The pun in the title of the chair may refer to discord between Mexican and European cultures reaching as far back as the colonial period. However, Gonzalez Wohlers’s whimsical merging of shapes, textures, and materials suggests a process of self-reflection and an affirmation of diversity.