Modus Operandi by Matylda Krzykowski



Polish design graduate and former Dezeen intern Matylda Krzykowski has tortured and destroyed a series of chairs.


Called Modus Operandi, the project involved making thirteen plain spruce chairs and destroying each in a different way.


One was shot with a rifle, another submerged in a pond for weeks and a third was tarred and feathered.


Subsequent chairs in the series were burnt, burried, hanged, covered in blood, chopped up with an axe, neglected in the garden or chained up.


Krzykowski completed the project while studying at Academie Beeldende Kunsten Maastricht in the Netherlands.


Watch a movie by Daniel van Hauten about the project here.


Photographs are by Mueller3000.


Here's some more information from Matylda Krzykowski:


Modus Operandi

Matylda Krzykowski presents ‘Modus Operandi’ (method of operation), a series of wooden archetype chairs that are reinterpreted through a distinct pattern of methods.


Led by an obsession for clean-cut form, the product design graduate has created a number of archetypal forms that relate with the common conception of a chair.


Used by furniture makers for a millennia, spruce was seen as a natural choice of construction material to make the series of chairs.


A chair, in most contexts, is a functional object of utility, commonly used to sit on.


Yet, Matylda distorts and extracts the functionality through her ‘modus operandi’, exerting and gaining dominance over the chairs, transforming them into her conceptual pieces.



She proceeds like a remorseful serial killer, demonstrating a hedonistic and sometimes crazed approach, before reassessing her ‘victim’, realising her conduct and ceasing.














Posted on Thursday August 20th 2009 at 10:41 am by Jonny Jones. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • B

    why chairs?
    these are uncomfortable chairs
    and as for the artistic is very superficial and has been done better ages ago in the artworld

  • Xit

    I’m going to pull out your nails one by one if you don’t talk Mr chair

  • Tom Mills

    Have you seen the TV series Nathan Barley? If not, obtain it, watch all six or seven episodes and then look at this article. Then post a comment.

  • Yum! I like this.
    Why NOT chairs? The antidote to the designer obsession with making ’em, maybe. Unmake them. Works for me.
    As for things being done before, well, most things have been. And I am reminded of Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto, in which he says, “Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.”

  • b

    i wonder.. did they scream?

  • Yes, but is it ART?

  • M

    I’m not against the idea, but it feels staged.

  • Yes, Patsy Stone, i ask myself the same question.


    yeah… uhhh….. maybe she should destroy 2 chairs… and we decide which one is better?

  • I think bringing up Duchamp in the context of this blog is pushing things a bit no?

  • B

    yes staged! thats the term
    it just looks to much like conceptual art design..but it is very shallow.
    take one human principal..project it on a the result a personal product.???.yes we are all screaming for more personality in cool and lifeless objects, we want to bond with the object according to at least 50% of all design graduates this year…
    but maybe bonding would go a little bit better if the product was usable and wasn’t visually screaming its own identity all the time.
    or showing off the designers need for drama all the time.

  • yrag

    To asdfghjkl:
    I don’t know, Duchamp came to mind to me too. But I don’t like this work.

    I think the thing I liked about Duchamp and those other ‘bad boys’ (and girls) back then was the reactive nature to and against the art establishment— to give the art world a profound shake up so that it disrupt the comfortable conformity of the era, provoking artists and views to ask and EXPAND what is art. Thus causing the pieces to fall into fresh and new ways.

    With them the violation WAS the art.

    But in some ways after the shock of the violation has finally abated. Those repeating the same or very similar acts can now seem now blandly facile and insipid in their repetitions UNLESS they truly add something new to the mix.

    To use a perhaps ugly analogy the first line of cocaine was amazing, but the more ingested, the less effective it becomes. And at a certain point, the thrill is gone.

    At that point, you’re ready, and even NEED something substantial to feed the soul.

  • Guido

    If I have to be honest, I don’t really get it..

    Taking a chair and extract the functionality, in my opinion the functionality is called chair. If you use a piece of wood to sit on, you call it a chair or a crutch. If you use it to put your cup of tea on, it becomes a table.
    But destroying it makes it a useless piece of junk..
    I don’t see the concept, or maybe it’s just the pleasure of demolishing things.

  • Hamid

    these chairs can be symbol of people under control of supressive regimes like Iran

  • Talented artist, can go beyond reality and imagine such an Art work…

    Francois Beydoun

  • w

    watch the video it is HILARIOUS, would be a good comedy sketch….if it wasn’t taking itself so seriously!…

  • Hey – you mentioned Duchamp again, naughty naughty.

  • Hi W,

    Thanks for the video about tortured & destroyed a series of chairs….

    PS: I sent it already to my friends on Facebook… ;)

    Francois Beydoun

  • Joe Blow

    “As for things being done before, well, most things have been.” True. Even more, most of folks with that “art attitude” are bullshitting, really. Let me play around with a little calculation to prove the point. 1) let’s assume that only 0,5% of all art is innovative 2) let’s assume Dezeen posts 15 articles per day, 360 days per year – 5400 total. Then what’s the number of posts on really innovative stuff, 27 ? Yet each of us design suckers is checking the site a couple of times, daily. Bloody hypocrits we are.

    As to the work: like it. You don’t find much courage to do conceptual stuff among graduates. Quite a lot of specific statements, a sign that Matylda has put in some thought and work into this. That’s a sign of a learning process. Looking forward to see more stuff in future.

  • Kristopher Adams

    It’s hard ever for me to bring myself to say something positive about this work but after watching what some have found an amusing video I think I may understand the idea a lot more.

    This isn’t furniture at all, an idea yes and quite a personal one but definitely not a collection of objects that actually furnish a persons habitat. Certainly none that are commercially valuable and thus on this site invalid almost as the previous comments suggest.

    I really think people can’t see past the object itself at all.

  • Vava

    Hey Tm Mills,

    thanks for the Nathan Barley ref! :)