Jeff Carter

Not Just Another Pretty Face 2019

Program Overview


Jeff Carter

My most recent sculptural projects are critical reinterpretations of Modernist forms, historically destabilized and newly contingent on memory, technology, and cultural hybridity. I have long been interested in IKEA as a conflation of fundamental Modernist ideals, postmodern DIY individualism, and globalized cultural economies. These intersections are where I develop conceptual and formal aspects of projects that seek to re-examine both the rarified status of the Modern design object and the sociopolitical underpinnings of Modernist philosophy. Taking a vernacular approach by using a practice popularly referred to as “IKEA hacking”, I transform familiar everyday products into sculptural forms layered with historical reference, visual invention, and humorous irony.

For example, my recent FAKTURA project consists of two new pieces, made almost entirely of altered IKEA materials, and based on historic photographs of Russian artist Vladimir Tatlin’s proto-Constructivist Corner Counter-Reliefs from 1914-15. Rather than function as reproductions, these works are meant to be understood as interpretations and are guided by the design and material characteristics of mass-produced IKEA products. Preserving the many references to interior utility and domestic scale inherent to furniture and household items, these pieces also retain the fractured, noisy and uncomfortable urgency of Tatlin’s revolutionary works. One of these sculptures is currently on view at the IKEA Museum in Almhult, Sweden.

Other related projects include the Chicago Tribune Tower series, consisting of 5 sculptures based on the rejected Bauhaus design submitted to the Tribune’s famous 1922 international architecture competition. Similarly, the series The Common Citizenship of Forms was based on the 7 now demolished buildings at Chicago’s Michael Reese hospital designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, including the Power Plant.






For more information or to commission a unique work of art through Not Just Another Pretty Face, contact Maria Nelson at or 773.324.5520 x1014.