Interior With Imperative Mandate

  • Artist: Jon Gundersen
  • Creation date: 1983–1984
  • Object type: Installation


Jon Gundersen trained at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo. His works are often based on recognizable, mundane objets trouvés, which he then reworks and recontextualizes. His works are often subtle, exhibiting a droll humour: a zipper is added to a rock, a fishing float is put on top of a pail of herring. The viewer is challenged to associate freely and reflect on what the work is actually conveying.

Interior with Imperative Mandate shows a few pieces of plain and somewhat shabby wooden furniture in an interior setting. Venetian blinds hang from the wall in the back and heighten the sense of closed space. Various items, such as a breadbox, a kitchen scale, and a saucepan, lie on top of the furniture. But upon closer inspection the seemingly ordinary room contains a few oddities. The chair is fastened to the table so that it remains suspended in midair – you cannot sit on it. The breadbox contains a turtle and a thermometer, a white feather is attached to the top of the scale, and a weight hangs down from underneath the stool. The installation is more complex than what first meets the eye, becoming almost like absurd theatre staged by the artist. We wonder whether he is pulling our leg or whether he wants to challenge us. And the more outlandish items we discover, the more we wonder – and perhaps we even feel a vague sense of unease.

It was precisely at this time, in the 1980s, that installations became more common in Western art. Gundersen’s works from the period show the influence of Robert Rauschenberg and Edward Kienholz, and also borrow elements from surrealism.

Text: Marianne Yvenes

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Jon Gundersen

Sculptor, billedkunstner, Drawing artist

Born 1942 in Oslo

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Interiør med imperativt mandat (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
vegg, gulv, persienne, målebånd, brett med kniv, kokeapparat, fat med fugl, bord med stol, lærreimer, brødboks, patentbånd, elefantfot, beltedyr, trefjøler, taburett, bearbeidet vekt, og lodd
  • Depth: 249.8 cm
  • Height: 275.2 cm
  • Width: 252.3 cm
Kjøpt 1990
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Complex object/artwork
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Morten Thorkildsen
© Gundersen, Jon/BONO