Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce Until the Kingdom Comes, a new series of sculptures and large-scale color photographs by Simen Johan. The exhibition will open on March 2 and close on April 1, with a reception for the artist on Thursday, March 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. This will be Johan's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.
In Until the Kingdom Comes, Johan presents animals using escapism and fantasy to construct identity and purpose. Similar to his earlier work of children, this series explores our predilection towards imagination and emotion, rather than reason. Using digitally manipulated photography and sculpturally enhanced taxidermy, the artist presents scenarios that address ways in which we contend with inherent fears and desires.
A sculpture of an arctic wolf posed atop a circus pedestal/beauty display, its hair extensions threaded with crystalline jewels, transforms a childhood horror into absurd beauty (or serves as a symbol perhaps for all those things we deny, cover up, or manipulate in order to make our reality desirable). A large mammoth made of cement, standing in a natural landscape, creates an uncanny relationship between the organic and the artificial (or testifies to our ways of preserving history and honoring the dead in order to conquer our own fears of mortality and being forgotten).
Simen Johan is an internationally exhibiting artist with works in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Cleveland Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Denver Art Museum. In 2004-2005 he was the subject of a one-person museum exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo, Norway, that also traveled to the National Art Museum of Lithuania and Stiftelsen 3,14 in Bergen, Norway. Johan has recently been included in group-exhibitions at the University of Iowa Museum of Art; the Neuberger Museum of Art; the George Eastman House; the International Center for Photography; and the Australian Centre for Photography. In 2003 Twin Palms published his monograph Room to Play. In 2002 he received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Simen Johan was born in Kirkenes, Norway, in 1973. He was raised in Sweden and has resided in New York City since 1992.