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Johan Söderström

#293 Words Will Never Hurt Me

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Johan Söderström

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#293 Words Will Never Hurt Me by Johan Söderström
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#293 Words Will Never Hurt Me

by

Johan Söderström

US$ 2,600

Overview

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2020

Filler and oak frames

Unique Work

Dimensions: 64cm (H) x 168cm (W) x 5cm (D) / 25.2" (H) x 66.1" (W) x 2" (D)

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

Artist Statement

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64x85 cm each | Filler, oak frame

This work was produced as a temporary installation at the Tablet exhibition at Risør Kunstpark, Norway in 2020. The words on the panels were made out of sticks and stones found outside the gallery. After the exhibition the work was finished in my studio.

In the old nursery rhyme which the work is based on, it seems as if words are soft, stretchable and floats on top of the hard kernel of reality. Like they’re possible to ignore by choice and ultimately have no physical impact. But is it true? If the self-conscious self - the subject - is a phenomenon of language, i.e. that it is only within a strict sphere of language that a delimited and cohesive self can exist, then it is primarily words that can threaten it, and vice versa the physical reality that can be ignored by willpower. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but only words will ever hurt me" would be more appropriate.

The call for perseverance, to endure the social circumstances even if it´s toxic is the power calling to preserve the status quo. Ideology is managed through language and to challenge power structures we have to challenge language. To understand that words might mean different for sender and receiver is useful, but to judge a statement only by the intentions and not by the effect, is deceiving and harmful.

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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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