studio am

design musings, articles and projects by An Michiels

art/michael johansson

I came across Michael Johansson’s work Ghost II while browsing on, an interesting blog with words and visuals by Folkert & Atley.  Worth visiting for a virtual stroll in the park, but beware it might turn into a lengthy walk cause there’s a lot of nice stuff on it!


Michael Johansson, Ghost II Installation in Galleri Arnstedt, Sweden (2009).

I got interested in Johansson’s installations and found loads more on his website.  I particularly like the Strings Attached series which shows his fascination with model kits and everyday objects.



Michael Johansson, Strings Attached series:  TOYS’R’US (2006), Kitchen Assembly (2008) & Some Assembly Required (2007).

MJ: ‘Fascinated by assembling objects from model kits as a child, Michael Johansson transforms everyday objects into models of themselves. Taking away their original purpose, the life-size kits hold a commentary on today’s ways of living. In his first piece from the series, 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 piece was created for the Besökarna exhibition in the western harbour of Malmö, an area developed as a demonstration project to provide a model for future cities. Today, many years later, the area still feels like a model. The artificial atmosphere awaits to break loose from its surrounding plastic frame. The boat which floated in the harbour for one month was a reflection on the utopian developments.

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a selection from mid-20th century housewife appliances are taken apart, sorted, and reassembled into an equally outdated boydream aesthetics.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.’

Category: blog posts


One Response

  1. an michiels says:

    @Wybe: Nice link of Botroff’s 1950s model family … the props for everyday life only involved smoking, reading and drinking .. not a bad life!

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