Christian de Vietri
Like householders the world over, Perth sculptor Christian de Vietri has been spending time in IKEA. Loitering in the Faktum kitchen and between the Billy bookcases, slumped on the Klippan two-seater and filling his pockets with allen keys, de Vietri is assembling something of a different order. For his latest work Configuration 3: Nuclear family fusion, 2006, currently on show at new Sydney gallery space thirtyseven degrees, De Vietri has taken the components of various IKEA products – the wooden structures of a bunk bed, curtain rails, parts of a rotating cupboard, knives, chopping board sets, chairs and tables – and created from them a tool of torture: a 3 x 3 metre ‘Infrafamily Conflict Resolution Unit’. Imagine a whirligig plus prodding stick: a contemporary reinvention of the barbarous medieval pillory, into which offenders were locked by their hands and neck and forced to rotate aimlessly, incessantly. For anyone who has done battle with a DIY assembly kit, it is clear that De Vietri has not so much transformed these IKEA products as pushed them to their cruel and natural conclusion: IKEA – the cycle of production and consumption – here reads as torture, as gross spectacle. It is possible, however, that the artist’s reasons for loitering in the local IKEA are far more mundane. A multi-award winner, having bagged the Art & Australia/ ANZ Private Bank Prize for emerging artists, the QANTAS Spirit of Youth Award, a Nescafe Big Break grant and the honorific title ‘West Australian Citizen of the Year’, Christian de Vietri is a man in dire need of a trophy cabinet.