NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Young 35-year-old artist combines photography and dreaming in his work. The exhibition offers its viewers the possibility to think how the images pictured in the photographs connect with their own wishes and thirst for freedom. Johansson is a wizard who manages to create something familiar and tangible, yet leaves room for unexpectedness. Raised on a farm outside of Götene in the west of Sweden, the artist’s childhood memories of surrounding landscapes are reflected in his surprising images. Salvador Dalí and René Magritte are his creative role models, and like the surrealists, Johnson turns viewers’ perspectives upside and challenges the viewer what is it actually that we see in the pictures.

Erik Johansson says that even if the worlds that he creates are often impossible, he wants it to seem like they could exist. The photographer starts each project with sketches and drawings, then builds physical models and finds suitable locations for shooting. Finally, the artist photographs all the elements and the digital collage-work turns stories to visual images.

Johansson’s work is full of optical illusions that lead the viewers from a rabbit hole to a world where the end means the beginning and where it is hard to understand how much distance is needed for reaching out something. “These are my stories of worlds that both exist and don’t exist: they are frozen portrayals of real things happening, and what it feels like inside, at the same time. This is as close as I can get to my own reality,” the photographer explains his work.

“Erik Johansson’s magical world plays with the viewers’ minds. The photos at the exhibition room take visitors to a fairy tale like place where anything is possible. It might happen that once contemplating the photographs longer, the first impression changes. The artist combines the charm and pain of modern society in different imaginative details, however impossible scenes appear completely realistic,” tells Maarja Loorents, Fotografiska Tallinn’s co-founder and Exhibition Lead, her view on the exhibition. “As the wizard of photography, Johansson uses visual language that has an impact on both young and elder, yet offers different possibilities for interpreting the art. As the title of the exhibition promises, the exposition literally takes its visitors on a journey to places beyond the obvious,” continues Loorents.

Gallery name: Fotografiska Tallinn

Address: Telliskivi 60a/8, Tallinn

Opening hours: Mon, Sun 09:00 - 21:00, Tue-Thu 09:00 - 23:00, Fri-Sat 09:00 - 01:00

Open: 25.09.2020 - 17.01.2021