This idea suddenly came into my head while I was reading a book by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong called Art as Therapy, this photo↓ taken by Jessica Todd Harper is shows a family under agony, the smiling face of their child forms huge contrast with the cold air and anxious gap between the two. The woman lays her arms on a dinner table to support her despair, two wine cups on the table indicate this argument begins during/right after the meal. The man relies his body upon the kitchen table, looking anxiously at the woman.
As I loved this photo so much, I looked up other works by Harper that considers family scenes. This Christmas photo is from her book called Interior Exposure, which is a typical happy Christmas family picture, here, the table occupied the majority of space with objects fully laid on.
What interests me in Harper’s photos is not the emotional figures, but the role play of objects. As in the first photo, separated tables on both sides indicate the broken family; on the other hand, the table in second one gather all the people in union. Objects here could convey a humanized message that reflect the emotion, the situation and the atmosphere of the scene.
Then I started considering about tables in our lives as witnesses to many memories. We have family meeting on table, we talk about business on table, we brainstorm ideas on table, we love on table, we break on table……well, it’s surprising to find out most of my time is actually spent on tables.
So I did a drawing with tables that may appear in your life, they seems like geometrical shapes, since I want to indicate the variety through shape and size. For example, Business Lunch on left upper corner is one of those tables that you can see at Starbucks, with a man in suits eating sandwich alone. Or New Year’s Union in the centre, which indicates a big big family meal at New Year with probably 15 members around the table.
Two more drawings I made following the similar concept, which was inspired by the tables in our school. The purely white one is named First Year, it is the table in our studio; the message is the brand new beginning of our uni life, unfamiliar with the environment and haven’t started any work yet. In contrast, the Third Year is a table I saw in seminar room filled with paints; the richness of materials on that table displays the time and memories it has been through. The colours is almost like what students gained from Chelsea after three years, if I consider the tables in this way, even the objects become emotional.