For the exhibition Age of Man, Ida Elke has cast a chair from a composite of the fossil wax paraffin and carbon. Paraffin is derived from crude oil and is therefore closely connected to the escalating human impact on the planet. It is widely used in industries and easily overlooked. As it is used, in thin layers, for its -less qualities: Odor-less, color-less, taste-less, reactive-less, the material bears witness on how our civilization is coated (and polished) far beyond recognition of the substantially.
“I could have chosen to work with renewable plant waxes instead. But for this project I wanted to draw the fossil wax into the presence and to explore how this “less-material” - a manifestation of negation - can form furniture, a throne of denial so to say”
Carbon is one of the most common chemical elements of all known lives, and in the universe in general. Has often been referred to as the “King of elements”. In the composite, it is used in the appearance of graphite powder, which gives the wax a dark silver tone. In addition to that, the chair is cast in a mold of wet clay, which provides a monolithic appearance to the piece.
Despite its sturdy looks, it is exposed to changes in surface, since every handling will leave small imprints. Hence it articulates a paradoxical connection between power and precariousness.