Empty Chairs Exhibition Remembers The Fallen
21st October 2014
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A thought-provoking exhibition about the conflict in Afghanistan by Warwickshire-based artist Mike Yorke will take up residence in the Chapter House of Chester Cathedral this autumn.

Empty Chairs is an installation of more than 400 miniature wooden chairs and is intended as a tribute to members of the British forces that lost their lives in Afghanistan. 

The chairs, which are 6cm x 6cm and 8 cm high, are displayed in rows on a polished black floor. 

Mike, who creates chairs and other sculptures from wood and trees, was inspired to create the installation after reading a newspaper article about the number of lives lost in the Afghanistan conflict. 

Mike works as a visual artist, analysing and expressing his views though his work. He makes use of an extensive range of materials including wood, clay, metals and everyday objects. He also includes media in his work to enhance the visual experience for his viewers. He uses the political and social environment that we live in as inspiration for some of his more conceptual pieces. 

The exhibition at the cathedral will also include two much larger chair sculptures, Vincent’s Chair and Evolution. 

Mike Yorke said: “My work with chairs is a tribute to my late father who died of cancer in September 2007. Dad loved Van Gogh’s painting and after his death he so poignantly left behind an empty chair at home. It seemed natural therefore to combine my affinity with wood to create the sculpture Vincent’s Chair. 

Empty Chairs is an evolving tribute to the loss of life in the Afghanistan conflict.  I think it provides the viewer with a thought-provoking stimulus which leads to a personal and emotional reaction to the horror and emptiness of war.” 

Vice Dean, Canon Peter Howell-Jones, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mike Yorke’s work into the cathedral.  His installation is very powerful and visitors have been looking at, and reflecting on, the exhibition when they visit the Chapter House. 

We have a planned programme of events to commemorate WW1 this year - but we also felt it was very important to take some time to consider other conflicts and war as a concept too.”

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