“The IKEA brand now symbolizes affordable mass products of Western culture. It contains, in association with world of design, all of the current period’s contradictions in condensed form. At the same time, they are the driving forces behind this era: globalization, monopolization, exploitation, alienation, pluralism, neoliberalism, mass culture, and hedonism.

Various historical architectural styles are considered classical, all of which are based on the ideals and formal vocabulary of antiquity. The last great classical movement in architecture took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and includes works by architects such as Étienne-Louis Boullée in France or Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Prussia. Classical architecture represents permanence and timelessness. Rooted in European humanism, it has a general yet simultaneously specific character, and it is durable in every respect. Without having to be decorated with contemporary label of “sustainable.” Despite its specificity, classical architecture evinces self-evidence.” André Kempe, Oliver Thill, A BOOK THAT SHOULD ACTUALLY BE CALLED IKEA CLASSICISM…, [w.d.]

Untitled, Richard Artchwager, 1996

“In his variations on the theme of familiar household objects, Artschwager has deployed the commonplace as a gestalt to coax the spectator into crossing the threshold which separates viewers from art objects and perpetuates what Pierre Bourdieu once called the “distanced aesthetic gaze”. Drawn in by the fragmentary, Pavlovian narratives that Artschwager’s objects imply, the spectator soon discovers that this book, this chair, this table, this chest of drawers, this door, this mirror are like props in a play in which he or she is the sole performer. Artschwager’s fun-house distortions of things the mind presumes already to know scrape against the hermetic surfaces of conscious existence to stir repressed memories, conflicts, desires, and fears. This furniture that would make Dr. Caligari, as well as René Magritte, feel right at home, Formica “”horror of the age”), which entombs so many of these handcrafted objects, refers spectators back to their condition as divided selves; to the increasingly total mediation of life as it is lived in the late-twentieth century; back, as well, to a world increasingly dominated by fraud and dissimulation. In this sense, Artschwager returns the spectator to the inhumanity of the “social space” that his art proposes to disrupt.” David Deitcher, NO EXIT, 1996

Safari, Archizoom Associati, 1968

“We are surronded by objects that most often present themselves to us not as pure volumes but in the form of colored and textured surfaces. There is barely a single object of daily use that does not address itself to our senses of touch and sight. Where we have a choice, the information we have on which to base that choice-aside from size, price, and efficacity-consists of colors and textures. From electric iron automobile, pieces of apparatus conceal their functioning while leaving their outward appearance, in all its manifold variations, to stimulate desire.

The colors and textures of the objects around us have long since taken on a life of their own. Repeated on the most dissimilar objects, they may well act like labels to denote something that is not there at all. Shaped to suggest metal, the plastic housing of an electric can-opener incorporates a strip of woodgrain-presumably to make this alien object look more at home among the wooden chopping boards and wicker fruit baskets. We are familiar with the burl veneer on the dashboards of expensive English automobiles, with their leather trim that blends with the driver’s pipe smoke and the little clod of peat on his brogues to create the perfect illusion of an outing in country tweeds. An echo ot that same sumptuous vehicle then appears in the guise of a little strip of plastic on the utterly disposable synthetic interior trim of a compact car.

This example illustrates not only the fate of all status symbols but our appetite for colored and tactile surfaces. So completely have these become part of the character of industrial products that they no longer remind us of natural materials at all but immediately suggest mass-produced simulations. Their effect is as calculated as the use of any other component; and, indeed, over the decades these reproductions have become familiar and instantly recognizable.” Kurt W. Foster, AUTHENTIC IMITATIONS OF GENUINE REPLICAS, 1996

Table and Chair, Richard Artschwager, 1963-4