We’ve had some strange requests for our stairlifts over the years, but when asked to loan one to be mounted horizontally on a wall at a London art exhibition, we had to wonder if someone was pulling our leg!
It soon turned out they were absolutely serious and that a stairlift was the essential centrepiece for internationally acclaimed German artist Matthias Sohr’s exhibit “Life Is A Staircase”. He was one of a select band of guest artists invited to submit supporting pieces for Korean artist Koo Jeong A’s “Riptide” exhibition at the Korean Cultural Centre UK, on The Strand.
Unfortunately, just a day before the exhibition’s grand opening Sohr was told his stairlift centrepiece was stuck in transit on its way from Italy, leaving his ground-breaking artwork without its uplifting focal point.
Exhibition curator Je Yun Moon said: “All eyes are on Matthias who is at a pivotal time in his art career – this exhibition simply could not open without his stairlift!
“In desperation and with less than 24 hours to go, we found the website of UK manufacturer and supplier Acorn Stairlifts and made the SOS call. They acted immediately and within four hours a gleaming new stairlift arrived and the exhibition was back on track!
“Thanks to Acorn’s quick action, Matthias Sohr’s situation went from being our biggest art disaster to this exhibition’s biggest success story.”
The “Riptide” exhibition presents 20 large-scale line drawings re-contextualised from Koo Jeong A’s 2006 book project. Transforming a solo exhibition into a collaborative project, the Korean artist invited a handpicked selection of international artists to respond to her work with their own exhibits, including Matthias Sohr.
He is inspired by the importance of assistive technology in modern society and working with mobility equipment is an instrumental part of his art installations. In “Life Is A Staircase” (pictured), the rail of the Acorn Stairlift doubles as the ‘frame’ for his work and his use of blue is inspired by Koo Jeong A’s blue fountain pen which is used in all her drawings.
Dave Belmont, Acorn Stairlifts’ Company Secretary, said: “We donate scores of stairlifts each year to charities, hospices and people in need. We know our stairlifts are good, but this is the first time they’ve been considered a work of art!”