Michael Johansson and His Three-Dimensional Compositions
The stairs, as well as the suitcases and the hairdryers, are just some of the everyday objects that Michael Johansson uses in his artworks.
The Swedish artist carefully chooses each element, wandering through the flea markets in search of almost identical pieces that are highly recognizable and that, at the same time, have an inner uniqueness.
The aspect that intrigues him most in this real ‘treasure hunt’ is identifying the random and equally unlikely repetitions in life.
The difficulties of an unchanged reiteration are even the main topic of Packa Pappas Kappsäck (Pack Daddy’s Suitcases), the 2006 work in which Michael drew inspiration from an old Swedish pun by placing suitcases of a similar shape, but of different size and colour, one inside the other.
All the objects that the artist uses for his creations are deprived of their original function to relocate them in a new context in which they acquire a greater value. They are no longer useless and dated items because they take on an essential importance in the composition.
After finding the perfect elements in shape and colour, Michael arranges the bulky ones to understand the final dimensions of the artwork and then fills all the empty spaces with smaller objects.
His work thus provides a precise place for each article in a filling process similar to a three-dimensional ‘horror vacui’.
For example, in Tipi – Konsthallen Trollhättan, the artist has arranged, in the space available under a five-meter-high staircase, all the tools found in the storage room of the same-named art gallery.
In other site-specific installations of the Tetris series Johansson used what he found in the warehouses of museums and galleries too. The distinctive trait of these artworks is not only the precision of the joints, but mostly the contrast between the front part, perfectly ordered, and the back which shows how that ‘perfection’ is only an illusion. You can see it very well in the 2007 door or in the Ghost series.
Over the years, the artist has also applied his distinctive artistic process to urban architectures, including the Heger Tor in Osnabrück (Germany) or the headquarters of the Royal Society of Sculptors in London (United Kingdom).
Photo courtesy of Michael Johansson