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The inaugural IKEA residency exhibition

April 20 - May 11, 2024 @ Surely Work Studios

Featuring artworks by Ryan Aliapoulios / Mary Boo Anderson / Zoë Blair-Schlagenhauf / Angel Carreras / Leah Clancy / Angella d’Avignon / Caleb Engstrom / Wendy W. Fok  / Jonathan Blake Fostar /  Wren Gardiner / Michael Haight / Skylar Haskard / Julia Elise Hong / Zhengyang Huang / Zhengzhou Huang / Stephanie Jazmines /  Rachel Elizabeth Jones / Shizuka Kusayanagi / Cora Lee / Zhen Lu / Thomas Macie / Amanda Malone / Amanda Mears / Sophie Lynn Morris / Paasha Motamedi / Robben Muñoz / Heidi Ross / Jovi Schnel / Molly Schulman / Emily Segal / David Seger / Jacky Tran / Tino / Ariel Uzal / Noelle Valencia / Krista Villatoro / Connor Walden

Installation Views

Exhibition Press Release

Curated by IKEA residency founders Mary Boo Anderson and Zoë Blair-Schlagenhauf, “At Home” examines how we live with the domestic fantasies that were sold to us. The exhibition features a diverse group of 38 artists, all of whom participated in the unsanctioned IKEA residency over the past year. Works in the show represent collaborations between residents as well as individual projects that explore themes of consumption, place, and connection under the omnipresent force of late-stage capitalism.

IKEA residency was founded in 2023 to build community over IKEA’s complimentary coffee. The program facilitates creative partnerships as well as opportunities for cohorts to convene as a whole. The mission of the IKEA residency is to reclaim creative space in an otherwise commercial environment. It serves as a critique of consumerism and the disappearance of free public spaces, while also exploring the prolific cultural impact of our unaffiliated namesake. As an experiment, the results of the residency were varied: some of us created, many of us contemplated, all of us shopped. Have you bought something at IKEA? You’ll probably feel right at home.

About The Exhibition + The Artists

Amidst the rapid homogeneity of our living spaces on a global scale—gray block buildings, minimalistic Instagram coffee shops, finance firms buying any and all available property—“At Home” asks how artists can infuse humanity back into our everyday backdrops, or at least fuck with the plastic grey floorboards our landlords have left us with.

Taking a cue from the residency’s mischief-aligned mission, play is at the center of most of the work. Amanda Mears takes her plein air painting group for a field trip to IKEA’s fake plant section. Zhen Lu and Ariel Uzal’s anthropomorphic life-sized inflatable sculpture highlights the absurdity of a lifestyle store devoid of all life. In the DIY spirit of the store, Jonathan Blake Fostar makes a series of IKEA-inspired Mad Libs. Amanda Malone and Dave Seger plant their video poem in an unassuming frame for IKEA shoppers to stumble upon. Ryan Aliapoulios and Molly Schulman set up a discreet interactive art installation where the most frequented participants are children brought to the store by their parents.

While some covertly showcase their work in the store, others mine the furniture giant’s products, branding ethos, and customer experience for inspiration. Shizuka Kusayanagi envisions an alternate reality sold by a holographic IKEA vase, while Jovi Schnell cuts up and reassembles “LACK” into a pattern that looks like it belongs in an IKEA catalog. Artists incorporated those actively involved with the store into their work, from Rachel Elizabeth Jones’s comprehensive research into IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad’s vision of the “people’s home,” to Jacky Tran’s redacted zine documenting interviews with employees and customers in which he divulged his real Social Security number.

“At Home” showcases what can be accomplished by spending hours at IKEA with a stranger. The exhibition ponders the trivial and the profound; it laments the rat race we find ourselves trapped in and honors the joy of making new friends despite. We’re just trying to have a good time, we hope you do too.