With playful and diligent material detail, Tora Schultz’s sculptural practice reworks objects that are direct products of our current standardizations and supposedly unambiguous narratives, unveiling the structural bias hidden in some of society’s most common furniture.
Schultz’s entirely new body of work created for her exhibition Bitch on Wheels spans the automotive industry and bentwood design with materials including a crash test dummy, an apple, strappings, domestic interiors, and public barriers. Across this spectrum, frozen or motionless moments are central: the numb body of the dummy; wood forced into static, curved shapes; the tied-up torso; and, metaphorically, the stale rigidity of typification.
Formally, Schultz pulls apart the objects that furnish our society, as actual furniture as well as warped social structures. In Schultz’s hands objects are, quite literally, broken down to their constituent parts and then remodeled, exposing the power structures that shaped them in the first place.
One sculptural series employs the popular EVA-chair, crafted in bentwood by the heralded Swedish modernist designer Bruno Mathsson. Schultz reconfigures a chair, in one instance, by stripping it of its woven seat, leaving its skeleton naked, and crossing the armrests so they appear to be tied-up or covering itself. In other instances, the chair is animated by fastening it with a seatbelt or putting shoes on it. Another series consists of galvanized steel sculptures that reference standard traffic barriers, subtly adjusted to offer softer, curved shapes that simulate the headboard of a double bed.
A repeating trope across Schultz’s new work is the figure “Eva” (the Danish spelling of Eve). Alongside the EVA-chair, another “Eva” is the EvaRID, an unused prototype, yet the first crash test dummy developed to ensure vehicle safety beyond a standardized male body. Summed up, the assemblage of restructured materials humorously rebukes the stereotypical profiling of empowered females as ill-tempered, vampish, and uncontrollable “bitches on wheels.”
Tora Schultz (b. 1991, DK) holds an MFA from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm (2021). She has exhibited at Bizarro, Den Frie, and Palace Enterprise (Copenhagen), Le Bicolore/The Danish House (Paris) and SKF/ Konstnärshuset, Tre Kronor and Issues (both Stockholm). Schultz received Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen’s talent award in 2022. The exhibition Bitch on Wheels is the culmination of Schultz’s participation in O—Overgaden’s 1-year postgraduate program, INTRO.
The INTRO program is funded by Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen’s Foundation. The exhibition has received further support from the Danish Arts Foundation, Minister Erna Hamilton’s Grant, the Lemvigh-Müller Foundation, and Beckett-Fonden.