Michael Johansson, “Shades and Variables”

Stockholm, 22.8–29.9  2013

Visually confined playfulness characterizes the art of Michael Johansson, an installation artist obsessed with the investigation of spatial possibilities. Everyday objects are dismantled, re-organized and perfectly arranged into color-coordinated puzzles, filling out select voids of any dimension. Just about any space is an invitation for Johansson’s cleverly executed and gravity-defying aesthetics. Gallery Andersson/Sandström is proud to premiere the fall season with an exhibition that brilliantly merges the ordinary and the extraordinary, exuding the chaos and order of a collector’s mind.

Objects tend to be defined and regarded by the context in which they are positioned. As such, a commonplace object can be rendered invaluable or worthless, functional or useless, dependent entirely upon its placement. In the art of Michael Johansson, objects are disassociated from their original purpose and opened up for new readings. By freeing them from their primary function and combining them by the hundreds, he presents us before riddles with a labyrinth of answers. In the presence of his work, we experience the everyday object in a new light, or perhaps even notice it at all for the very first time.

At Galleri Andersson/Sandström, the large-scale, site-specific work entitled Shade fills one of the exhibition halls. Here, Johansson amplifies the unique spatial qualities of the room, in mirroring the gradation of natural light throughout the day. As in many of his works, the installation seems to hover in a perfect balancing act, in a state between the deliberate and the accidental. In stark contrast to the clinical atmosphere of the white cube, the items themselves suggest a domestic atmosphere, as if the installation is a framework for childhood memories. Everyone can relate to it in their own way.

In working with everyday objects, Johansson is aware of the inevitability of positioning oneself against the historical backdrop of the surrealist era and the Dada movement. At that time, the artistic use of everyday objects broke completely with tradition, however today this is well-trodden ground. Still, Johansson is a firm believer of the possibilities of pushing new boundaries, constantly utilizing new methodology in his work. At the moment, he is moving away from working with already predisposed spaces into exploring new geometric solutions. He says, “Being able to joggle or dislocate the viewer’s perceptions, even for a brief moment, means accomplishing something vital.”

Michael Johansson, born in 1975 in Trollhättan, Sweden, is currently based in both Malmö, Sweden, and Berlin, Germany. After studies at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts (BFA) in Norway, and the Malmö Art Academy (MFA) in Sweden, he has since 2005 have had an intensive and growing international career. A selection of solo exhibitions includes the Ystad Art Museum and Växjö Konsthall in Sweden, Akershus Art Center and Vigeland Art Museum in Norway, and Massimo Carasi – The Flat in Milan, Italy, with additional group exhibitions at the Bergen Art Museum, Norway, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia, and Koganecho Bazaar in Yokohama, Japan, to mention a few. After several collaborations with Galleri Andersson/Sandström in the last few years, this is Michael Johansson’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.