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Johan Söderström

#295 Clogs

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Johan Söderström

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#295 Clogs

by

Johan Söderström

US$ 1,300

Overview

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2020

Filler on board, oak frame

Unique Work

Dimensions: 64cm (H) x 84cm (W) x 5cm (D) / 25.2" (H) x 33.1" (W) x 2" (D)

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

Artist Statement

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64x84 cm | Filler, oak frame

This image is made with my feet in the classic Kazuo Shiraga style. But where the Japanese master of abstract expressionism, one of the founders of the Gutai group, used ropes to elevate himself above the canvas, I have used the modern variant of clogs, made of plastic. This is the shoe of the common people, the shoe of the working class, from history in wood in the factories and on the fields, for example, today's healthcare workers widely use the plastic version. Still, it is also popular as leisurewear for the mainstream, or the so-called masses.

Where Shiraga's images are dramatic, sensual, with their different layers of colour in varying thicknesses, my work is flat and graphic, as it is actually a cross-section through the sculptural surface created by my footsteps in the wet filler. Restrained in tonality and size - perhaps a more straightforward and folksy version of abstract expressionism?

Platform
This work is part of a series called Platform. Works made by bodily imprints in frames with wet filler while placed on the ground. This is inspired by Gutai, the experimental Japanese art group from the 50s, who focused on matter, body and process, and especially one member Kazuo Shiraga who painted with his feet, suspended from the ceiling over the canvas. These imprints can be made by me or others, to document, or record, an event taking place at a certain point in time. The happening is becoming the act that creates a work of art and thus challenging the boundary between documentation of art and art itself.

A platform is, at the same time, a scene and a metaphor for a media channel. Modern mass media, and the internet, in particular, can be seen as an upgraded version of Michel Foucault's description of the panopticon, the hidden and internalised gaze of power. Now the power is instead hidden by the light from the media. Everything can be said and allowed, as long as it keeps our attention captured.

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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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