Skeletal and sleekly sinister, the chair’s spine grins like a skull and each arm seems a scythe carried on the shoulder of the grim reaper. If form bespeaks function, then this form cries torture. Yet its hypnotic beauty produces only the softest of whispers: I am an instrument used to inflict pain of a primal and primitive kind. The small rests at the chair’s top keep your head steady as the back reclines you so that bright sturdy metal chisels and tongs can be pried between your teeth.
This is the face of dentistry before the armature of suffering was hidden beneath padding and ornamented with footrests and put into a field of soft colors and soft rugs and soft music and soft hands in gloves.
With those embellishments removed, all that remains is truth—the terrible business of pulling apart one piece of your skeleton from another. Here with remarkable beauty worthy of Tim Burton or Edward Gorey is celebrated the image of promised pain and fated mortality. Beware to look upon this chair. Beware to know thyself.
Dr. David Rosen, President Kendall College of Art and Design