"There is technology as a medium, and technology as material. The first is easy to understand--to supply the traditional product, for example, TV or films, the execution is a matter for the technical specialists. Technology as material is a more suitable question, and one which involves of course the intimate relationship of technician and artist. I am a technological liar" (C. Oldenburg, quoted in B. Rose, Claes Oldenburg, exh. cat. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1970, p. 91).
Oldenburg's objects have always been parodies of reality, theatrical duplications as opposed to sincere reproductions. Works produced for The Store, the studio-store-theater that the artist rented in 1961, included comfort food, clothes and household objects rendered in plaster and paint, sometimes three-dimentionally or otherwise in relief. Although imitative of manufactured objects, the works were characterized by their uniqueness and unreproducibility. Oldenburg's works, through their familiarity, invite the viewer to make a personal connection with each piece, tying whatever individual experiences or associations the work may generate in him or her, just as the work is tied to the artist's own relationship with it.
Oldenburg's objects were transformed in medium and subject matter by a move to Los Angeles in September 1963. The artist delighted in the banality of his motel surroundings and the different materials such as vinyl and synthetic fur that he found in surplus goods stores there. Oldenburg developed a new theme of The Home, which was to inform his work for several years to come, in objects such as Soft Toilet, Soft Washstand, Soft Bathtub and introduced these objects in a new grand scale of mammoth proportions. For Oldenburg, who once commented that "the erotic or the sexual is the root of all art," the sensual qualities inherent within such materials as vinyl and fur allowed him to transform such ordinary inanimate household machines as telephones, typewrites and plumbing fixtures into enigmatic objects with a personality of their own. In the manner of his many erotic sketches of the period, the process of making soft sculptures allowed Oldenburg to infuse the ordinary and the everyday with his own personality. Somewhat reminiscent of the subversive manipulation of material implicit within Surrealism's soft watches or fur cups, Oldenburg's soft sculptures were ultimately, for him, a means of what he has described as "finding myself in my surroundings...What I see is not the thing itself," he has said, "but -myself- in its form" (Notebook entry Dec. 1-7, 1960, quoted in C. Oldenburg & E. Williams, Store Days, New York 1967, p. 65). In Soft Typewriter a classic image of a hard, sharp-edged writing machine has been transformed into a playful soft and sensual object that not only explores both the artist's and our own assumptions about such a commonplace object.