TitleMichael Johansson: Alternative Readings
Duration22 March 2018 to 11 May 2018
VenueThe Flat - Massimo Carasi
Opening HoursTuesday to Saturday 14:30 - 19:30
Telephone+39 02 5831 3809
|Title||Michael Johansson: Alternative Readings||Posted In||Exhibition||Duration||22 March 2018 to 11 May 2018|
|Venue||The Flat - Massimo Carasi||Opening Hours||Tuesday to Saturday 14:30 - 19:30||Location||
3, Via Paolo Frisi
|Telephone||+39 02 5831 3809|
Alternative Readings is the forth solo exhibition of Swedish artist Michael Johansson at Milan’s The Flat - Massimo Carasi gallery showcasing six new sculptural works and two installations specifically created for the gallery. Johansson’s work is populated by familiar objects which have been cleansed of their original functionality and purpose to become something incomprehensible. In doing so, the artist is asking viewers to re-calibrate their perception of those objects, to make alternative readings so to speak.
Inspired by real life coincidences such as a parking garage full of red cars and fascinated by flea markets, Johansson’s work appears simultaneously neat and chaotic. Comprised of a variety of discarded, incongruous objects of different size and usage, the assembled collages, are nevertheless orderly, balanced and perfectly geometrical. Tightly and meticulously packed like some kind of three-dimensional puzzle, the constituent pieces acquire an unexpected coherence that boggles the mind. Johansson has been creating his stacked assemblages, often described as “real-life Tetris”, since 2007, both as free standing sculptures and as public installations filling up doorways, arches and even alleyways.
The work on display at The Flat - Massimo Carasi embodies the artist’s more recent experimentation with colour and transparency as a common denominator. For example, Flip Shelf, a wall-hung, rectangular prism containing items such as storage paper boxes, metal cash boxes, binders, books and even folded towels, is presented in three colour versions in blue, orange and grey, the latter also made in a larger, standing version. Meanwhile, Déjà vu, a sumptuously black cube containing, among other things, briefcases and CD travel cases, is harmoniously juxtaposed with another, similarly sized but translucent cube made out of glass objects named Untitled, on the other side of the space.
Another approach Johansson has been employing in order to assemble his hybrid objects is the use of doubles and symmetry. When visiting jumble sales and second-hand shops to browse for materials, he’s always on the lookout for doubles of seemingly unique objects. Look closer at the artworks in the Flip Shelf series for example and you will spot that the lower and upper halves are inversely symmetrical. The same is true for the titular work of the exhibition, Alternative readings, a tall installation stretching from the gallery’s floor to the ceiling. Squeezed between two square, black coffee tables, the compacted cubic volume exhibits both horizontal and vertical lines of inverse symmetry, but fix your eyes on it and you will start to question the room’s spatial orthodoxy, what’s up and what’s down, left and right.
The exhibition is completed by a second site-specific installation, Corner Piece, composed of three wooden chairs wedged in a T formation between the gallery walls. As before, concepts of reflection and symmetry are tampered with to create a distorted version of reality where what we see is in conflict with what we know in what ultimately is a perfect encapsulation of Johansson’s ethos of making something unique from something otherwise ordinary.