At The Chair Factory
Jan 20
Feb 19 2023
exhibition in-person

Ian Willms and Liam Crockard spent their formative years in the late 90s and early 2000s teaching themselves photography by forcing their way into every abandoned space in their hometown. Unknowingly capturing the nadir of an economic depression that lasted for decades, there was one building that never shuttered, collapsed, or found a new life as a flexible work space. One building in downtown Kitchener that still produces to this day what the flaked and fading text states on the exterior: FURNITURE.

Returning home in 2019, Willms and Crockard spent two weeks at Krug Furniture methodically exploring the 140 year old building and its routines. Accumulating hours of video footage and dozens of rolls of film, the artists fell into their own 9 to 5, seeking to create a portrait of this genuine curio of industrial production. The result is something between an episode of How It’s Made and classic durational cinema; the middle ground between hypnotic observation and quiet critique. It applauds craftsmanship but does not shy from the routines that absorb it, celebrating the human expression that asserts itself in incidental ways: tchotchke-laden workbenches, community announcements in breakrooms, and graffiti in the rafters. Change happens gradually and accumulates in place – a rolling stone gathering plenty of moss. This exhibition examines the reciprocal ways in which the space informs the work, and the workers inform the space.

Drawing a connection between art-spaces and their former lives as industrial sites, Crockard and Willms’ project considers how production – of meaning, of value – continues long after the whistle blows and the cards are punched.

The artists would like to recognize the Ontario Arts Council for their funding of this project.


Ian Willms, Liam Crockard, the plumb


Ontario Arts Council logo


Who should visitors contact with questions regarding accessibility?
the plumb
Can people get to the venue using accessible transit?
Parts of chairs waiting to be assembled in Krug factory
Photo credit: Ian Willms & Liam Crockard
Factory scene with lockers, colour swatches, air compressor, worker sweeping floor in background
Photo credit: Ian Willms & Liam Crockard
Factory scene with music speakers, photos of workers families pinned up, wood organized, worker in the background
Photo credit: Ian Willms & Liam Crockard
Close up image of portraits and tools
Photo credit: Ian Willms & Liam Crockard
Factory scene of open workspace with worker in the centre, organized wood for making chairs, big industrial saw in background
Photo credit: Ian Willms & Liam Crockard