Conrad Bakker – Consumer Actions. Poetic guerilla attacks on the consumerist world.

22 March 2003 27 April 2003

Separate exhibition
Main hall, Färgfabriken

Consumer Actions, an exhibition by the artist Conrad Bakker, opens at Färgfabriken on March 22. Combining a certain acerbity with a subtle humour, Bakker takes on today’s consumerist world. His works are based on a kind of low-key, poetic guerrilla actions, usually perpetrated at K-mart, one of the world’s biggest discount retail chains and the supreme symbol of American shopping: he places copies of K-mart’s offerings on store shelves, next to the real goods they imitate. These copies have all the classic characteristics of art: they are unique objects, created by the artist, and at the same time are fake versions of real goods. Bakker photographs his objects next to their mass-produced models and then exits the store, leaving them on the shelf. What happens to them after that is anyone’s guess. Bakker himself has written that:

“As one is looking at the photographs of the event, one might imagine that a store customer or even a stockperson could pick them up. Theoretically one could even walk out of the store with the object and not be charged with shoplifting since it is not a ‘real’ thing. Or perhaps they end up in the lunchroom of the store as an object of curiosity. I guess I am only really interested in the initial subtle and subversive action: what it means to insert something obviously fake and constructed into the real and how that might challenge the conditions and expectations of the real.”

For his exhibition at Färgfabriken, besides showing documentation of his K-mart actions, Conrad Bakker will produce works specifically for Färgfabriken and the Stockholm context. Among other things, he will make copies of Tobias Bernstrup’s CD, “Re-animate me” and of Maurizio Cattelan’s “Permanent Food” magazine. These “works” will be placed by Färgfabriken’s entrance and in the bookshop, as well as at several other selected locations in Stockholm.

On April 11, in connection with Conrad Bakker’s exhibition, Färgfabriken will host a seminar dealing with consumer patterns, stimulus progression, behavioural patterns and other shopping-related issues. The seminar, beginning at 6 pm, will be open to the public. “Consumer Actions” is the result of an initial contact between Färgfabriken and Creative Capital, New York. Its production has received the support of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Conrad Bakker teaches. The exhibition will be mounted in parallel with Jesper Waldersten’s “A Black Line”, in Färgfabriken’s main hall.