Daniel Arsham on manipulating the idea of architecture

Multidisciplinary American artist Daniel Arsham straddles the line between art, performance and architecture – which he manipulates and makes behave in unexpected ways.

“We often imagine architecture as something solid. Every time it’s disrupted, you disrupt the order of things”, says New York-based Daniel Arsham.

With his work, he does precisely that – making architecture do things it’s not supposed to. A facade may appear to billow in the wind, or there may be a figure wrapped up in the surface of a wall. For Arsham’s IKEA Art Event contribution, it looks as if a piece of the architecture has come off the wall together with a clock.

Two men looking at a piece of paper at a desk with decoration, in front of a white shelving unit with books and decorations.

A man in a beige cap and green/white jacket holding a cloth covered in gypsum, in front of white shelving with books.

“Typically, I’m referencing everyday objects, like a telephone, a camera or a clock. Things that already have a place in our daily lives. When I can latch on to something that people already know and shift that to a place outside of everyday life, the experience can be interesting.”

Daniel Arsham sees many upsides to the IKEA collaboration, one being the broad reach.
“I wanted to do something that’s really true to my own artwork, even if it’s on a larger scale. This piece will reach audiences who don’t go to museums or galleries, whether they don’t have the opportunity to or just don’t do it.”

A white wall clock with a plastic frame resembling a flowing curtain, on a white-tiled wall.

Can you tell us more about the draped, moving wall clock for IKEA Art Event 2021?
“It appears to be in a frozen state where it’s manipulating the idea of architecture. It’s almost as if the clock has peeled itself off the wall and brought a little bit of the surface with it.”

IKEA Art Event 2021 is launching during spring 2021.