Panic! At IKEA

Christina Dommer

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Room C1260

An oil painting of an IKEA kitchen set covered in blood. Blood pours out of the sink, cascades over the cabinets, and spills on the floor. A false window is lit up over the sink.
Panic! At IKEA (Kitchen II), 2024, 40×40″, oil on canvas.

The Panic! At IKEA series interrogates the middle-class suburban lifestyle by spilling blood over pristine countertops and slathering walls and cabinets with gore. The paintings, which impose puddles of blood over reference images taken from an IKEA showroom, call attention to the balance of control and chaos that makes horror work, and suggest anticapitalist attitudes. 

An oil painting of an IKEA kitchen set covered in blood. The wine rack and island are stained in blood and something bloody is also reflected in the stainless steel fridge. blood pools on the floor in front of the sink.
Panic! At IKEA (Kitchen I), 2024, 40×40″, oil on canvas.

The series takes cues from tropes of horror media, especially cinema, which is created and consumed to explore feelings of fear in a controlled environment. Because the danger of the blood is invading a supposedly private space, the paintings convey that for some people, there is no control of or end to these horrors. The sheer volume of blood isn’t just to evoke shock value, but represents an accumulation of violent events over time, asking viewers to contemplate the invisible cost in labour it takes to create cheap furniture.

An oil painting of an IKEA bathroom set covered in blood. Blood spills over the bathroom mirror, floor, and vanity, but the toilet is almost untouched. In the mirror, a set of laundry machines are seen in a closet. Over the toilet, three houseplants are mounted on a shelf.

In Panic! At IKEA I (Bathroom), the toilet in the bottom right is surrounded by puddles of blood that are cut out of frame and are suggested to be in the viewer’s space. The painting is big enough to be nearly true to life, making the horrors seem more real.

Panic! At IKEA illuminates an uneasy balance between chaos and order, the abject and the mundane, the middle-class ideal and reality. None of the facsimiles in an IKEA showroom will ever see a stream of piss or coffee ring in their lives, or any of the mess that makes a house a genuine home. But the paintings lay bare the reality of comfort and capitalism in their messiness.

Christina Dommer

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Tina Dommer (any pronouns) is an artist who works predominantly in drawing and painting. Their practice explores humour and absurdism, social commentary through satire, and internet culture. He has a diploma in Journalism from Langara College and, by the time you are reading this, will hopefully also have a BFA from Emily Carr University. She was born, lives, and works on the traditional, unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people (i.e. Vancouver, B.C.)