In a world of online matchmaking and social media, the artist Noortje de Keijzer offers a simpler option: an art piece and product entitled My Knitted Boyfriend, a knit pillowcase that comes to life when stuffed. In this witty critique of modern dating and expectations, My Knitted Boyfriend eliminates all the messy parts of a human relationship, conforming to individual preferences; he will enjoy whatever you enjoy, and he “can be adjusted to your own tastes” with the use of accessories like facial hair, tattoos, or glasses.
Although humorous in its somewhat cynical outlook on modern love, the piece is unexpectedly sentimental. The boyfriend himself comes along with an illustrated book narrating the story of de Keijzer and her cuddly lover, much like children’s picture books that include a stuffed animal. Also like a children’s storybook, the text and illustration follows a simple, nostalgic format: we are told that they “sleep together” and are offered an innocent sketch of the pair doing just that. The boyfriend, though he is not real, becomes a precious manifestation of the fictional—or imaginary—friend that enchants the young mind.
Complicating the delightfully sweet story of the artist and her beau is the work’s clever take on the domestic theme. As seen in her charming short film, the relationship is build not around professional ambition or the public realm; instead, they eat breakfast and watch movies. In fact, the man himself is knitted and therefore associated with the home. This 1950s-style domestic romanticism is brilliantly complicated and subverted by the fact that the male and not the female here is the homemaker; in place of the mid-century ideal of the perfect wife, My Knitted Boyfriend is that crucial element that makes a house a home. In the artist’s own astute words to her knitted partner, “You fit in my interior perfectly.” (via Design Boom)