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Johan F Karlsson: Pathway Through A Sunstone
11 February–12 March
The exhibition Pathway Through A Sunstone is based on Johan F Karlsson’s artistic research on the properties, history, and use of Iceland spar, a crystalline mineral that is well known for its contributions to optic science and for its speculative role in navigation. The artworks present an experimental approach to the subject matter; they are inspired by the crystal’s light attributes and its capacity of creating a double image, a ghost image. This ghost image can be linked to the imagination of a different dimension and ideas of ‘twoness‘, implying two presents or two locations at once. To a certain degree, the experience of the double image can activate a bodily knowledge and bring forward a hidden consciousness that is linked to a reality beyond actual time and space, and that leads one to alternative worlds. The exhibition can thus altogether be thought of as a journey through a pathway that is split into two – into parallel paths, where we find mutual relationships in the material and the immaterial, in lines and surfaces, light and darkness.
Johan F Karlsson (SE) has been artist in residence at Skaftfell in January and February 2022, supported by a grant from Nordic Culture Point. During his time here he has, from an artistic perspective, experimented with the Iceland spar’s natural polarizing properties and its capacity for creating a double refraction. The ongoing research and this exhibition aim to bring forth a mostly forgotten knowledge about how humans have negotiated with their surroundings, using ancient navigation methods that circle around spatial perceptions and aspects of presence in regard to light actualities.
Johan’s artistic practice includes photography, sculptural and video installations, interventions in space, and performances. He often works site-specifically in regard to spatial and spatio-temporal aspects, e.g. exploring light actualities and their influence on human cognition of time and space, or the body’s ability to gain knowledge through the perception of its surroundings, such as through lighting, temperature or sounds. He is specifically interested in the notion of presence and perception of space in relation to how we orient ourselves. This includes the exploration of different navigational techniques, and observes the human strife for knowledge, especially through mapping and searching, and its counterpart: trust in the unknown and its potentialities. Aesthetically, Karlsson aims to investigate methods of reduction, particularly in terms of reduced material, ephemeral or ‘immaterial’ components like light/shadow, and even in terms of a so-called nothingness. This often involves creating landscapes in the broadest sense.
Johan F Karlsson (b. 1984) lives and works in Malmö, Sweden. He holds a BA in Culture and Arts from Novia University of Applied Sciences in Pietarsaari, Finland, and a MA in Photography from Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Johan has exhibited in various group and solo shows in Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland, e.g. Gallery CC in Malmö, Gallery Huuto in Helsinki, the Photographic Center Peri in Turku, the Northern Photographic Center in Oulu, and Erfrischungsraum in Lucerne.
Text: Johan F Karlsson
Curated by Julia Martin