Swedish artist Michael Johansson made this life-size dinghy “model kit” Toys’R’Us
A boat and related equipment are joined together in a welded metal frame. Everything is painted in a unifying plastic layer to resemble the surface of a model kit. The real boat is transformed into a model of itself, and its original purpose has given way to something else.
TOYS’R’US was made for the exhibition Besakarna (the Visitors) in a new part of Malma, the Western Harbour, built for the housing fair Bo01 in 2001. The area was developed as a demonstration project to provide a model for future cities. Today, six years later, it still feels like a model. The artificial atmosphere still awaits to break loose from its surrounding plastic sticks.
Moving to a more domestic realm in Engine Bought Separately a selection from mid-20th century housewife appliances are taken apart, sorted, and reassembled into an equally outdated boy-dream aesthetics. These two worlds are merged together and the objects are frozen in their new shape – while their function is displayed, the functionality is taken away.
Reversing the steps in the line of production, in Some Assembly Required, parts from bikes and scooters are turned back into a space of imagination and spin concepts such as size and belonging. The title of the series taken from a commonly found phrase on the boxes for model kits, reminding buyers of their participatory role, points out to the role expected from the audience in finding references and therefore giving shape and meaning to the works.