Artist: jacob dahlgren Tags: Permanent art

There is a playfulness about Jacob Dahlgren’s art. Many of his works can be described as material-based metamorphoses, where quantity is transformed into quality. A literal deconstruction of his works will reveal that the geometric patterns may, in fact, consist of yoghurt cartons, clothes hangers from IKEA or plastic coffee cups.


Cecilia Hjelm/Statens konstråd

Arkitekt: Tomas Hansen/Yellon

But this playfulness is not only manifested in the choice of materials but also in their unceremonious composition. They are arranged not according to any superior logical structure or strict colour scheme but as a result of random selection.

Dahlgren’s work for the new courthouse building in Jönköping was inspired by Tetris, one of the most popular computer games ever.  It was invented in 1985 by the Russian mathematician Alexéy Leonídovich Pájitnov, and is based on what is popularly called recreational mathematics. The object of the game is to stack building blocks on each other to form horizontal lines without gaps.

In Jönköping, Dahlgren has transplanted the game from its two-dimensional historic context to an updated three-dimensional reality. Like the original, each shape has its own colour, but Dahlgren has not followed the original’s strict separation of the geometric figures. The sculptures are a puzzle on a monumental scale. With their unexpected, slightly odd location, they resemble alien objects that have fallen out of the sky. Four have landed outdoors, two inside.

They are made of corian, a durable composite material that is entirely without pores. The result resembles stone. The sculptures have been polished to seamlessness and are smooth to sit on. The slightly rounded edges accentuate that they consist of several parts. The objects are too large to puzzle together and are more appropriate for playing, climbing or resting on. The logical shapes that were once intended for mental exercise now form the basis for physical recreation.

Stina Högkvist


JÖNKÖPING 2012. Model of Jacob Dahlgren’s Tetris.