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Johan Söderström

#416 Long Stick Drawing

by

Johan Söderström

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#416 Long Stick Drawing by Johan Söderström
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#416 Long Stick Drawing

by

Johan Söderström

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$ 1,400

Overview

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2022

Filler on board

Unique Work

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

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

Artist Statement

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Filler, oak panel

This work was made using a 5,2-meter long stick. The method is inspired by photos of Henri Matisse who sometimes used long sticks to draw with, both to be able to draw from the bed and to have oversight over large drawings while drawing. I, on the other hand, was instead of facilitating the drawing process, trying to make it physically harder to draw. Because one of the reasons why we sometimes admire children's drawings is that there is a gap between intention and ability which create tension in the drawing, and this method tries to set up the same conditions.

At the same time, the works deal with the crude and harsh nature of language. Signs and symbols always contain categories of meaning rather than the often subjective and specific statements we´re trying to express. It's like shooting mosquitos with cannons. No matter how hard we try to transmit a message to the receiver it always comes out distorted on the other end. And the growing contemporary use of emojis, symbols and predefined responses instead of letters and individually formulated sentences might be easy to use, but perhaps doesn't increase understanding in communication.

The barred S is a symbol of money, an entity we often need to be part of our interactions with others around us. The concept can be more complex than we think if we understand it as freedom. Without money our freedom to operate is limited. Freedom is also what designates a subject, the ability to make independent choices, to have free will. Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan uses the symbol to describe the split in the subject by language. So the distance between what we mean and what we say when we use this symbol can be greater than we think. But on the other hand, things we cannot understand we might better stay silent about, and using a symbol can be a way of speaking without really saying anything. And sometimes that's exactly what we want.

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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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