One man’s junk is another man’s treasure: Artist creates ‘Tetris’ artwork out of everyday household objects

Ever wondered what to do with all that junk in the loft? Swedish artist, Michael Johansson makes a living out of turning wardrobes and filing cabinets into colourful works of art

Remember that old TV you discarded and kept in the garage, just in case you might use it..? Maybe. One day…

Bet you never thought of turning it into artwork? Hmmmm? Well actually, neither did we, but we have to admit that we’re rather impressed and perplexed in equal measure with Swedish artist, Michael Johansson’s novel take on ‘upcycling‘ his unwanted household junk.

The savvy Swede now makes a living out of creating unusual artwork installations using materials including wardrobes, suitcases, filing cabinets, household appliances and even full-sized caravans.

Now where did I put that phone? Swedish artist, Michael Johansson creates installations using unwanted household items such as filing cabinets, drawers and even phones  Michael Johansson/Rex Features

His latest collection of ‘Tetris’-themed installations include cabinet-like object made of filing cabinets, books and a phone and a living room feature wall filled with artfully placed archive boxes.

The 37-year-old’s colourful works fill spaces that range from a disused storefront in a Japanese back alley (Recollecting Koganecho in Yokohama) to the space between two stacked shipping containers (The Move Overseas).

A stack of objects between buildings in Rotterdam (Tetris – Witte De With) resembles a quirky, slim building while ‘Self Contained’ in Sweden is so large it contains a caravan, a Volvo car and a tractor.

File it away: The 37-year-old artist has even made a feature wall out of old archive boxes and shedding machines  Michael Johansson/Rex Features

Junk in the trunk: Michael trawls flea markets in Malmo and Berlin looking for unwanted objects for his artwork  Michael Johansson/Rex Features

Michael, who lives and works in Malmö and Berlin, explains: ‘I am fascinated walking around flea markets finding doubles of seemingly unique, though often useless objects I have already purchased at another flea market.


‘Despite the fact that I did not have any use for them even the first time, the desire to own two of these objects becomes too strong to resist.

’One man's junk: 'Self Contained' in Sweden is so large it contains a caravan, a Volvo car and a tractor  Michael Johansson/Rex Features

So perhaps it’s time to dust off that old Atari and put it to some good use. Or failing that, get yourself a stall at your nearest flea market. You never know who might want it…

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