Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.
Experiencing Simen Johan’s artwork relies partially on the imagination of you, the observer, as to how rich your experience of the images will be. The works are intentionally untitled to allow for several possible interpretations of his photographs and sculptures. Merging traditional photographic techniques with digital methods, Johan creates each of his images from several negatives, having first constructed or discovered each element and photographed it on film. Similarly, Johan’s sculptures are also a fusion of the realistic and artistic further challenging us to believe or question what we are seeing.
The title of the exhibition, Until the Kingdom Comes, “refers less to the kingdoms of the bible and natural world, and more to the human fantasy that one day, in some way, life will come to a blissful resolution. The answers to who we are and what we’re doing in this world, will come to light and validate our existence. In a reality where understanding is not finite and in all probability never will be, I depict ‘living’ as an emotion-driven experience, engulfed in uncertainty, desire and illusion.” (SJ)
Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes was organized by 21c Museum as an ongoing series of solo exhibitions that highlight individual artists represented in the 21c collection. For the first time this exhibition brings together ten years of work by Johan, including several new works previously unexhibited, loans from private collections, galleries, and five works from the 21c collection. Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes will travel to the Frist Center for Visual Arts February 20 – May 29, 2011.
About the Artist
Johan has been widely exhibited internationally, and is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cleveland Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other major institutions. Johan’s first monograph, Room to Play, was published by Twin Palms in 2003. Born in Norway and raised in Sweden, Johan earned his B.F.A at the School of Visual Arts, in New York, where he currently resides.