This Is Not a Table Sculpture by Larry Schuster

“Not a Table”
“This daring contemporary sculpture is intended to invoke a paradoxical dilemma for the viewer.”

“As in René Magritte’s famous painting of a smoking pipe with the caption below the image stating “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), when asked once about this image, he replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it with tobacco! In other words, the image of a thing is not the thing itself.”

“I took a slightly different message from the painting. First impressions of an artwork can be misleading and color all perceptions that follow, sometimes to the exclusion of the deeper meaning intended by the artist. I have found this to be the case, at times, with this piece.

So what is the deeper meaning? The sculpture has been intentionally made impractical, precarious, and even dangerous in an attempt to draw the viewer’s mind away from the fact that it is in the form of something that is considered solely practical and functional and to think of the form as beautiful and completely functionless.”

Glass, stainless steel, marble and mahogany legs · Table approx. 48” x 48” · Height w/ base approx. 46”.

“My idea was to make a table that was clearly a work of art and purely non-functional. As I started working on the legs, I decided to experiment with the milling machine, which has traditionally only been used to work with metal. I realized that I could use it in a number of new ways, ways that it had not been intended for. I clamped each leg to the table and used the swing and rotation of the head of the machine to make the arcs of the legs. I learned to move the table surface to change the position of the slot and depth of the cutter to create the perfect grooves on the arc of each mahogany table leg.”

“There were other ways I made it clear that this was purely a work of art; as a table it is totally unusable. The leaves on the legs are decorative visual elements, to give an organic quality, but they are sharp, as though untouchable. Then there are the steel points radiating from the table top. Even the marble base gives the impression of splitting apart, two legs on each section, like the potential for disaster.”