In 2005, Simen Johan began his mystical photograph and sculpture series “Until the Kingdom Comes,” which depicts a natural world that is simultaneously familiar and otherworldly.
To convey that contradictory effect, Johan creates intricate digital constructs using photographs of animals he has taken all over the world, and re-situating them in new environments constructed from other photos.
His newest works will be displayed at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City from October 24 to December 7, 2013, and they continue his mindbending theme of blurring boundaries between opposing forces such as the natural and the artificial, the beautiful and the eerie, the known and the unknown.
Johan says the title “Until the Kingdom Comes” “refers less to religious or natural kingdoms and more to the human fantasy that one day, in some way, life will come to a blissful resolution … In a reality where understanding is not finite and in all probability never will be, I depict ‘living’ as an emotion-fuelled experience, engulfed in uncertainty, desire and illusion.”
Johan seems to addressing the sometimes surreal tensions embedded in the human condition — self-awareness characterised by craving for permanence within a sea of change.
Sometimes we act like the orangutan sitting in the tropical landscape of Bali, contemplating why such a lush environment is littered with trash.
Other times we keep our minds in the clouds, paying no mind to the mud we’re standing in.
But we can also choose to simply blend in to the best of our abilities, akin to Javan peacocks camouflaged within a Spanish pepper tree.
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