Susanne Johansson, Johanna Karlsson & Petra Lindholm
Below the Horizon
We are pleased to present Below the Horizon, an exhibition with new works by Susanne Johansson, Johanna Karlsson and Petra Lindholm. The exhibition has been developed through a long dialogue between the artists. The works included resonate with each other and bring up mutual investigations despite different expressions and techniques. Nature is both the setting and plays the lead part in the practice of these three artists. Common to the diverse landscapes or nature studies presented in Below the Horizon is that they all have their point of departure in the self-perceived. It is the everyday meetings or memories that have been transformed in the studio into timeless reflections with a wider perspective.
Throughout human history the horizon has been the most obvious limitation of our consciousness; as a limit of our sight, our knowledge and sense of security. Below the Horizon is not a land in twilight where the sun does not rise, it is rather a state of multiple layers of time, where past times searches for its place in the world’s chronology together with times ahead. How do we deal with current fateful reports about the state of the planet that are combined with mantras of growth, efficiency and ignorance of science? Below the Horizon is a place where the current accelerating situation is slowed down and sorted into a greater narrative about planet earth, cosmos and eternity. Within the works in the exhibition, this place is found in nature. The ephemeral is frozen here for a moment and could peacefully be studied when juxtaposed to phenomenon as the tectonic plate movement or all the biological processes constantly evolving regardless of interference by civilization.
Petra Lindholm’s imagery contains abstracted reflections on our environment close to a collapse. Her act of zooming out to geological perspectives, ages or life cycles, generates a necessary counterposition. Current phenomena that interest her are how larger areas of ice and permafrost now melt and how traces of past life appears. Perhaps the traces of our own civilization will not be more than an abnormal discoloration in the bedrock about 50,000 years from now. Massive mountain landscapes are recurring in Lindholm’s work, inspired by a longer stay in Kathmandu. Her new works have been populated and describes a migration that is going on since the origin of man and the growing movement that occurs today. The movement in the image indicates that something will happen. In some works Lindholm has inserted fragments from drawings that her mother did when she was expecting her. Narratives about origin of different scales and time horizons coexist here; references to ice ages and eons are intermingled with personal references and current social issues.
The subject of Susanne Johansson’s works is found in the thin dividing line where our inner landscape’s meet the exterior. It is a concentrated reflection of one or more events – a multilayered reality where memories and the subconscious meet ambient tactility in an ongoing movement. The very act of painting is for Johansson, a counter-movement in itself. It is a way to stop and observe what is going on at the side of our attention. The focus could linger on how trees are communicating with each other or on the fact that new life is constantly born in the cycle of nature, something beyond the Anthropocene. Recently, questions about permanence and contemporary volatility have been part of her process. Has man always understood his contemporary time as vulnerable? In Johansson’s recent paintings the recognizable has been treated with unconditional improvisation and the language in many of the new works is even more expressive. The motifs are taken from the near surroundings, but turn towards an inner spatiality.
The meticulously detailed sections of nature that Johanna Karlsson dissects and constructs can be found in the boundary between the urban and natural environment. These are elements of nature that exist in the shadow of civilization and a casual, seemingly insignificant, biological order becomes permanent and significant in her sculptures. In the works, organic details have been magnified into sculptural characters. The shift of scale abstracts the features and it becomes clear that her interest is not to mimic reality. She raises nature into the protagonists and allows the palpable to replace theories and words. The sculptures are gradually formed, and time and the touch of the hand is stored in its volumes.
Natural cycles, the sunset, the atoms – everything exists and operates in the minimal layers of time that we inhabit and everything will find its place in eternity after our time. Here, below the horizon, everything is illuminated to help us to clearly see the big picture instead of repressing the inevitable behind blinds.