Johan Strandahl — Kök
The artist Johan Strandahl is a devoted explorer in a world where everything already is discovered. His field of interest is the familiarity of everyday objects and standardized products.
Strandahl is indifferent to prestigious brands and high-end products. He focuses on low-budget consumer goods, the category of products that we hardly ever notice, since there are so many of them. Things like cheap power drills and coffee makers that we think we know everything about, things we are actually completely oblivious to. We don’t know where they come form, which components or materials they are made of, or how they are constructed.
It doesn’t bother us, since we are perfectly happy to know how to make a cup of coffee or drill a hole in the wall. But it sure bothers Johan Strandahl, who has spent the last 1,5 years of trying to comprehend an ordinary kitchen.
The result of his exploration is now exhibited at gallery Niklas Belenius: a handmade and fully functional reproduction of a complete kitchen from Ikea. All the components and parts are manufactured by Strandahl himself, including the oven and refrigerator as well as the ceramic tiles, chipboards, screws and hinges …
In comparison with the Ikea kitchen, which is also shown at the gallery, Strandahl’s replica lacks the perfection of the original, but also the passive anonymity. Strandahl’s kitchen is active and impossible to ignore, it stares back at the spectator, demanding something in return.
Strandahl’s work is not only an act of re-producing, but also of re-understanding. In the process of making he returns the lost pieces of meaning to the object, thereby pointing out the possibility of a different kind of understanding, where, in Immanuel Kant’s words “the hand is the window on to the mind.”