The Presence of Absence

The Presence of Absence


Creating this installation involved many of the same issues and concerns that come into focus in my art-making. My initial inspiration came as an intuitive hunch that, over the years, I have learned to pay attention to. Once the intuitive idea became an activity, like all creativity, it began to change and adapt as the process developed.

This process involved treating my studio space much as I have always treated a canvas or paper. In this particular case I began with the physical removal of objects to achieve a blank field. With every act of reductive-ness came a powerful and fertile void or ground. Hence, in creating an absence, the slightest reintroduction to the space created a sense of presence and a direct cause and effect with each act. This became even more evident when I selected and introduced the empty chairs as an archetypal symbol to indicate absence.

What was unanticipated by me was the incredible sense of presence the empty chairs brought to the room. This sensation of both presence and absence seemed embedded and inseparable to the chairs. They also began to conjure and stir various memories associated with this type of chair. It then occurred to me the need to offer the chairs as an interactive component to the installation. That this last and final gesture to the installation could only be fully realized with the addition of the human encounter, participation and presence.

— Diane Hause

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