Hanmi Gallery Seoul is very pleased to present a solo exhibition by Swedish/Korean-born artist Leonard Johansson (b.1986 ). Through his visually layered and colourful paintings, sculptures and installations, Johansson explores the dual theme of celebration and satire. Appropriating imagery from youth cultures such as the metal and rock music scene, comic magazines and fast food culture, Leonard Johansson plays with everyday imagery and re-contextualizes the simple joys in life with the subliminal messages of indoctrination.
Playfulness and experimentation is at the crux of Johansson’s artistic practice. The sculptural feeling of each painting is the result of using many juxtaposing materials such as, oil paints, spray paint, various forms of calligraphy ink, and sliced fabrics sewn together to function as the canvas. Movie posters, kitsch fabrics, loud music, ice cream, and bright colours are all blended into the work, creating an explosive amalagamation of the artist’s memories. All of them initially designed to appeal and target a young audience. With the artist being one of many in his generation to grow up, surrounded by manufactured cultures of the 1990s, the process of making his artworks is of as much importance as a means to breakdown, reflect and analyse these influences.
By stitching the different segments of inspiration and indoctrinations together, Johansson creates new intricate patchworks of thoughts that function as blueprints for the paintings to follow. Transferring the raw energy of heavy music back into the act of painting - or as songs as the artist often refers - where the final stage is in the cutting room, the artist constructs multple complex surfaces with layers of meaning, reflection, and critique both painted and sewn back into the picture. The canvas’ act as a filter, permanently recording recollections and different textures together with the varied materials employed during this process.
Johansson’s process of creating this body of work reflects the incessant need of the artist to be surrounded and consumed in his studio. This acts as the main conduit through which all of the works are constructed , whilst also placing the artist on a dual position between explorer and consumer and thus enhancing the infinite circulation, which condenses an immersive and dense personal experience.
‘Leonard Johansson: Under the influence will focus on the artist’s experimental attitude towards the re-contextualization and re-appropriation of multiple subject matters. Johansson’s new body of works will bring into sharp focus, a visualisation of the artist’s own intimate experiences and heritage. Johansson’s artworks offer the audience an opportunity to leave contemporary society and escape to a fantastical world of the 1990s.