NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Helsinki Contemporary’s year ends with Repetitions, a joint exhibition of two prominent Swedish artists, Lukas Göthman and Michael Johansson. The artists work with different media – painting and sculptural installation – but both approach their subjects through the act of repetition. The works in the exhibition are in dialogue with each other, they occupy both the walls and the floor of the gallery space and carry a certain conceptual quality, a negotiation between form and thought.

Although Lukas Göthman works with oil paintings, his use of material approaches sculpture in its three-dimensionality. The artist works with words that have a semantic meaning, but most of all possess and transmit a certain feeling. The starting point for the works in the exhibition is in the artist’s diaries, recollections of voyages and travels. The fleeting moments and memories, both real and imaginary, are translated into clear colours, full of life and sentiment, at times vivid and happy, at times melancholic, soft and misty. Impressions of things that could or should have been, “life in a curated mode”.

Repetition is evident and manifested in a particular wall in the gallery space, holding over 40 of Göthman’s small paintings. The series of works, Paintnotes, was first born out of the idea of not wasting leftover paint but rather creating something entirely new out of it. In the series, Göthman uses paint lavishly. The words in the paintings become abstract in the sensual, tactical thickness of the material.

Just as Göthman works with leftover paint, the idea of recycling, reusing or rediscovering is very much present in Michael Johansson’s works, where everyday objects are given a new life and meaning, to a point where their original use is completely forgotten or becomes solely an addition to the layers of meanings in the works. The interplay of shapes, colours and patterns in the artist’s sculptures and installations create a logic of their own, playful and imaginative. Through the reimaginations, the works, familiar yet strange at the same time, become unnerving, uncanny.

Johansson is interested in the possibilities and limits of space. He searches for various objects and situations as the basis for his works, and creates new, smaller, puzzle-like entities inside their pre-existing patterns and empty spaces. The sculptures in Repetitionsalso function as mirror images of themselves, like visual palindromes: the same logic is repeated over and over, no matter where you look at them from.

The dialogue and tension between the works in the exhibition is also born in repetition. Johansson has used the colours from Göthman’s paintings as a starting point for the colour schemes of his own works. The act of repetition is a way of moving forward – as the familiar becomes something strange and new, instead of closing or ending up in a dead end, repetition starts to open up new horizons and create new ways of seeing and conversing. Through it, a feeling of temporality is born, of moments passing by.

Lukas Göthman (b. 1970) lives and works in Stockholm. Göthman is a self-taught artist. He has exhibited widely in his homeland of Sweden since the early 2000s, and also appeared in exhibitions in various parts of Europe, e.g. in Stockholm, Malmö, Amsterdam and Paris, as well as in Japan, for example. Göthman has also worked with performances and site-specific projects.

Michael Johansson (b.1975) lives and works in Berlin. He graduated from Malmö Art Academy in 2005, and has since exhibited widely in galleries and museums internationally, eg. in Haag, Milan, Tokyo and Mexico City. Johansson’s works are included in many central international public collections. He has created numerous commissioned works for public spaces and buildings in the Nordics and, in 2020 for the first time, in Finland, at Tuusula’s Rykmentinpuisto

Gallery name: Helsinki Contemporary

Address: Bulevardi 10, Helsinki

Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12:00 - 18:00, Sat-Sun 12:00 - 16:00

Open: 27.11.2020 - 20.12.2020