If you happened to wonder what British singer-songwriter Alannah Currie has been up to since the Thompson Twins disbanded in 1993, wonder no more. She is now an artist-upholsterer working under the name Miss Pokeno to create furniture that incorporates taxidermied animals. In addition to the armchair with the entwined foxes (1st photo), she has made a chaise lounge with a dead swan attached to the armrest. "I'm making chairs to confront ideas of what comfort is....When you sit on them, you question the notion of comfort: what's behind you, what had to die to make the chair." Journalists are making much of the fact that Currie is a vegetarian, but the animals in her work are either roadkill or died naturally.
The sheep chair (2nd photo) is making the rounds of the weird news with - as is often the case - no information about its provenance. It turns out that a student at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, created it as a prop. Supposedly used in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," it is now in NIDA's library.
The black sheep chairs (3rd photo) were created by Atlason, a New York City "boutique consultancy" established by Icelandic designer Hlynur Vagn Atlason, who studied at Parson's School of Design. Each Princess stool is made from a whole lamb, as evident in the transition in the wool from the legs to the back. The legs are anatomically correct and the original hooves were digitally recorded in 3D and cast in silver.
As postmodern as these may seem, taxidermied chairs are nothing new and were popular in the Victorian era. An 1895 article (part 1 and part 2) lists plenty of unique (and in several cases, disturbing) animal creations, including chairs made from a baby giraffe, which had been shot with its mother in British East Africa; a man-eating tiger, which was killed in Travancore, India; and an elephant. The author of the article descibes the tiger chair: "The seat is covered with the beautifully-marked skin, and the head and paws are so arranged as to give the impression that the terrible animal is about to spring. Observe the ingenious way in which the tail is disposed, as though the tiger were coiled right round the chair." Questionable comfort, indeed.