By Lieneke Hulshof

If we take a serious look at the shape of an ironing board, what do we see? It is a hard plank, and stretched across it is a soft material that can be indented by applying slight pressure with your finger. According to Kim van Erven, it makes us feel much more than we think. Her work is all about the aesthetics of everyday things. She examines products whose purpose is to enhance our life or make it more cosy, though they are not always successful. Sleek design furniture or beautiful antique objects are not what fascinate Van Erven, but rather clumsiness and subtle lack of success.

‘In Action (my favourite shop) I once purchased a black vase, elegantly adorned with the word ‘Summer’. This was totally misplaced. I had never seen a more despondent looking vase! Immediately you know that yellow and pink versions of this vase are also for sale, but during the design process someone called out "we need a black one too, for people who do not like colour".’ Van Erven's sculptures balance on the boundary between beautiful and ugly, attractive and repulsive. They are reminiscent of a pair of tight leather trousers, a warm chair or a shiny sweet; is it dirty or is it in fact quite tasty?