Join us for a discussion with acclaimed artist Simen Johan in conversation with curator, writer and collector W.M. Hunt on the publication of Johan’s third monograph, published by powerHouse Books. With a unique creative process that combines candid wildlife photography with digital manipulation, cinematic drama, and a painterly approach, Simen Johan summons a metaphorically dense world into being where human fantasy and nature collide. Representing 15 years of the artist’s career and gathered here for the very first time in this deluxe volume are his celebrated uncanny animal portraits, otherworldly landscapes, and psychologically-charged narrative natural scenes.
Each image reveals poetic and often unexpected relationships that speak to the illusory and multifaceted nature of existence. Tensions between what is revealed and what is concealed, what is alluring and what is menacing, what is fact and what is fiction, both shape and unsettle the scenes. Johan presents us with paradoxical photographic worlds that echo uncanny versions of our own.
This event will take place at Scandinavia House. Advance registration is recommended; sign up at the link above. Catalogues will be available for purchase.
“Johan’s photographs underscore the importance of the creative act in photography, not as an act in itself, but as a means towards a conceptual and narrative goal.” —David E. Little, Executive Director of the International Center of Photography
Special thanks to the Royal Norwegian Consulate, New York.
About the Speakers
Simen Johan originally drew attention in the early 1990s by merging digital manipulation with traditional darkroom techniques. Since then, he has been developing a hybrid form of image-making that integrates candidly photographed animals and landscapes with a compositional structuring and conceptual intent typically associated with painting and cinema. In a 2016 issue of Photograph Magazine, Lyle Rexer proclaimed: “…one of the first and best artists invading the new [digital] territory was Simen Johan.” Johan’s artwork has been exhibited worldwide and is part of numerous permanent museum collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of art, the Brooklyn Museum, and Cleveland Art Museum. Prestigious awards, include a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts and the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation at Brown University. Comme des Garcons and Louis Vuitton have featured his art in campaigns. Simen Johan was born in 1973 in Kirkenes, the extreme north of Norway, and currently lives and works in New York.
W.M. Hunt is a champion of photography: a collector, curator and consultant who lives and works in New York. Highlights from his collections have been shown in Europe and the U.S., most recently in Derby, UK; Lodz, Poland; and Bologna, Italy. He previously owned the gallery Hasted Hunt and teaches and lectures around the world. His writing includes The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious; Hunts Three Ring Circus; many artist monographs and a series of essays. He has known and been a fan of Simen Johan since the artist’s debut 30 years ago in Bit by Bit: Post-photographic Imaging at Hunter College.