Peter Stonhold - Golden Throne
"It's never been the way I wanted it to be. It was a bit of a failure. Nothing golden about it... My memory is a bit hazy... Bit blurry on this nebulous release... Dark honour. It's quite claustrophobic... £100,000... It could potentially be a chair. It looks domestic. Do you sit on it?... Discourage using it... I always felt guilty about the disassembling of the chair... Man up!... I had to put it on Gumtree."
"It's taking far too long, seven years since university." "How would argue against those who claim your work is not physical art?"
I liked the idea of it being a symbol of ultimate power, domination or a primal urge to try and attain that type of social status. I also liked that it sounded like a metal band. I suppose it’s because metal bands have the funniest names in relation to most genres of music, I would guess that they’re usually intended to be funny. I think humor is important in general but also in creative pursuits.
Golden Throne was an experiment when I was in art school. It failed. I wanted to make a minimalist sculpture but there were too many imperfections with the material I used. It also didn’t look like gold, because I couldn’t afford to make a solid golden throne. Who would’ve known? I tried to make it through cold metal casting using bronze, but it came out a bit green.
At art school I got wrapped up in theory and went against coming up with artwork that could be made quite cheaply to a point where I couldn’t make any of my ideas because they’d cost too much. I think this was due to seeing a lot of sculpture by graduates with low-fi materials and this was some sort of adolescent reaction to do the opposite.
After graduating I was quite stuck and couldn’t find a method of making work because my ideas were too costly. I looked at funding but eventually came to the conclusion that it would be wasteful to produce these objects and that it was completely unethical to use that amount of resources to satisfy ultimately myself.
A talented artist by the name of Ben Wheele felt that VR would be a suitable way of making my ideas because there are no constraints in terms of making large projects on a digital program.
It then took me five years to lean the free software and produce Golden Throne. This was partly due to working full time, but also due to laziness, procrastination and wanting to socialize.
I came up with Golden Throne probably in 2009-2010. I started making it through cold metal casting in 2010. It was completed mid 2011. It stayed in my studio until I moved back to my parents in 2014. It then stayed in my parent’s garden until I moved in with my girlfriend in 2016. We have since moved and it has moved with us.
It’s been a decade long project and I think even during the first 6 months my close friends felt I was mad to carry on. I think during these 10 years I carried on out of a compulsion to finish it. I wasn’t happy with the end result 9 years ago and I felt I couldn’t move on until I was. Strangely it all came out of an experiment to use new materials, but it became an obsession. At university I was always experimenting with new materials, working with paint, wood, metal, casting, printing, photography. I never settled down into a method of working. I think it is important to experiment, however I think it’s good to have a fully formed piece of work and there were only a few times I managed this at art school. I think it’s important to strive to find new methods of making art and to make something new. I’m very happy with the material I am using because I feel like I’ve finally found a good space to make fully formed pieces of artwork.
It has been a collaboration of all sorts. I had a lot of help from my casting technician who showed me how to do everything, a second technician who helped me construct it into a chair., all my friends, friends of friends, fellow students who helped me make the chair during after I was given an extension, many of the tutors including the course leader who supported me when I ran out of time; my friends who carried the throne up many flights of stairs and then back down again at our studio; my family for looking after the throne (as well as a friend of the family who kept it in a converted barn for about a year); my girlfriend who has encouraged me to keep it in the flat for 4 years; Ben Wheele who advised me to use VR, a friend suggested what software to use, etc.
In terms of compulsion and need to complete Golden Throne, the sense of achievement and satisfaction of finally completing it is overwhelmingly great and I’d like to thank all those who made it possible.
After I bought the throne I went to the University workshop and a technician quite brutally broke the throne apart for me, whilst the senior watched in the background shaking his head. Parts of the joints splinted and snapped off and it wasn’t the most delicate procedure in the world, but I guess it was the only way as it was glued together.