The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography is presenting to the Russian public, for the first time, the work of the young Swedish photographer Erik Johansson, known for his staged surreal landscapes. Each of his works consists of fragments of many images, carefully processed and cleverly combined in a graphics editor. Johansson boldly invades images with manipulation, constructing fantasy scenes and expanding the boundaries of human perception.
From an early age, he drew constantly, inspired by the works of great surrealist artists: Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and the graphics of Maurits Escher, until he acquired a camera and mastered the art of graphic processing of images. It was just a fascinating experiment at first, but very soon Johansson devoted himself entirely to photography, however not in the classical sense.
Erik does not capture a moment, but realizes his fantasies, using the camera and fully constructing places and situations. Combining real-life objects in the frame, he seeks to maximize the realism of the image, so that his fantasy worlds seem genuine. “No one can say that it doesn’t look realistic if I really captured it all on camera,” he comments, defining his style as “photorealistic surrealism”.
The whole process of creating the work is divided into three stages. The first is drawing. Johansson works through a lot of ideas on paper. Once he has selected the best, he looks for places, architectural structures and objects that could be part of the final image. This stage can last for months or even years. He then takes pictures of the objects and works on the footage on a computer, connecting the elements and processing the frame. All stages of the process are equally important for the final image.
Each of Johansson’s works has an element of mystery and magic. The word “magical” has the same roots as the German “mögen” – “to be able”, “to be capable of something”. The magic of Erik Johansson’s photographs is to capture the impossible and present it as realistically as possible. The objects that he depicts are not bound by the connections that exist between things in everyday life. In the realities he creates, sheep’s wool becomes a cumulus cloud, day switches to night at the hands of a regulator, who, like the Greek God Chronos, controls the passage of time, and arms smash, but the vases they hold never do.
Erik’s passion for drawing and his interest in manipulating human perception are also realized in projects in public places. He creates “street illusions” in 3D – large-scale drawings that transform the space of the street, mesmerizing passers-by with their realism.
Erik’s photographic projects have been shown in different cities all over the world, including in Sweden, the Czech Republic and Australia. In 2011, he was a speaker at a TED Talk in London. At the beginning of 2016, Erik released his first book Imagine, which includes photos from his personal projects created over the past 9 years.
Erik Johansson : On the Other Side of Reality
February 14 – May 12, 2019
The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography
3 Bolotnaya embankment, bld. 1
Moscow, Russia, 119072