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Johan Söderström

#101 The Three No's

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Johan Söderström

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#101 The Three No's by Johan Söderström
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#101 The Three No's

by

Johan Söderström

US$ 5,500

Overview

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2017

Filler on board, oak frames

Unique Work

Dimensions: 100cm (H) x 375cm (W) x 5cm (D) / 39.4" (H) x 147.6" (W) x 2" (D)

Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.

Artist Statement

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125 (W) x100 (H) cm each, installation dimensions variable | Filler, oak frame

The title of this triptych refers to an infamous sentence in the Khartoum resolution issued by the Arab League (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait and Sudan) in 1967. It reads - ”No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel. ” Although the resolution was never enforced, and is no longer relevant to the Palestinian conflict, the text’s categorical rejection remains of interest. Not least as an alternative to the common notion that conflicts can and should always be resolved through dialogue and compromise. The work can be viewed as a statement of support for the Palestinian struggle, but it can also be understood as a reflection on struggle and resistance on many different levels.

In a situation where conflict is a result of sustained abuse of power, initiating a dialogue between the parties can function as an extension of the actual assault. If one party exercises power at the expense of others, which often is the case in conflicts, then negotiations with the dominant party can be experienced as a confirmation of the power structure, and be recognized as a legitimation for the abuse.
Within a Scandinavian and Western context, open conflict and hostility are seen as temporary exceptions to the norm and is expected not last too long. Negotiation, compromise, understanding and forgiveness, are perceived purely as positive concepts. But they can also be instruments of power. Throughout history, rulers and various institutions have used them as arguments to enforce their will, thus showing that established channels for conflict management also can function as an extension of existing power structures. Requirements to solve or handle conflict through the normalization of relations is for the weaker party, a further form of submission.

This becomes especially apparent when you read the situation through Michel Foucault´s power theory and refrain from viewing power as something directly tied to specific agents or institutions, but rather as embedded in the discourse as a whole. Power consists of defining what can be described as true and setting boundaries for what is viewed as possible. In this way, the call for acting within the norm of consent is imperative. Thus the rejection of cooperation can be a more effective tool for struggle or resistance, as we see in strikes and boycotts. When the balance of power is very uneven, the only possible means of resistance can be extreme versions of this rejection, such as hunger strike or suicide.

In a social context, those insisting on illuminating or sustaining a conflict, are often looked upon as difficult or unpleasant. However, in the case of an abuse of power, creating a distance between the victims and the aggressor, by refusing to reconcile, may be essential for maintaining integrity, and enabling positive self-development. Clear boundaries and distance, are usually better than forced solutions, even though this can be perceived as harsh and unforgiving by the surroundings.

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Artist Profile

Born: 1969

Hometown: Stockholm

Based in: Oslo

I am interested in process-based painting and the profound human solitude. While exploring one thing, I sometimes try to formulate something about the other.

My work is made from construction filler in oak frames. I have developed a unique technique, where I insert 6 mm thick layers of grey and white filler into the frame like intarsia, instead of on top of each other as in conventional painting. The result gives a graphic expression that at the same time has tactile materiality. I use some simple but clearly defined methods to apply the filler in the frame. These limit the expression of cognitively controlled processes, thus opening an opportunity to reveal something unknown.

They often take the form of series or installations that extend into the room.

I base my work on the notion of a primary alienation in the human subject. By using painting, I want to formulate something around this lack, or the desire, integrated into our perception of reality. I want to explore whether the problem can illuminate other forms of social and cultural alienation—for example, privileges, class, racism and xenophobia. In short, different types of distances between people.

I have previously shown works in Scandinavia at Konsthallen Trollhättan, Konsthallen Lokstallet, Konstepidemin, Kristiansands Konsthall, Akershus Kunstsenter, Trondheim Senter for Samtidskunst och Tenthaus Oslo. I am educated in Norway at Kunstakademiet in Trondheim and live and work in Oslo.

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