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Swedish for Argument

By Andrew Frost

Here’s a true story. On of the biggest arguments that my wife and I have had in nearly 20 years of marriage was over the construction of an IKEA television stand. With nothing more than a text-free instruction booklet and an allen key the task of putting together eight pieces of wood and four coaster wheels almost tore our marriage apart. We vowed never to speak of that incident again and when, some years ago, Rachel put together a pair of IKEA bedside tables I decided to just close the bedroom door and let her get on with it.

The exhibition Swedish For Argument curated by Holly Williams brings together a suite of works that examine the cult of IKEA, from Tony Schwensen’s classic TransScandanavia performance video [in which the artist attempts to put together a cupboard sans instructions], Guy Ben-Ner’s Stealing Beauty in which his family and friends act out a scenario in an IKEA shop to Lorenzo Bravi’s experimental letterpress printing that uses IKEA products as stamps. The promotional image for the show is the humble allen key – that bent piece of metal that’s opens the gate to untold conflict.

October 23 – November 23

UTS Gallery, Ultimo


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