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Amazing photographic art at Kalmar Castle

Erik Johansson

Behind the Horizon will be displayed in the Burned Hall at Kalmar Castle until the 7th of november.

Erik Johansson creates images that make you stop and look for a long time. Things look real, and at the same time they do not. Now, there is a chance to see his imaginative photographic art at Kalmar Castle. All in all, 52 of his works are on display in the magnificent castle halls.

Erik Johansson currently resides in Prague , and his works are exhibited in art galleries around the world. But it all began with a gift on his 15th birthday. Erik got his first digital camera, and found that he was able to make something completely new out of the photos he took.

- On my computer, I could edit the images, while still retaining some sort of realism. I kept trying different things, and a few years down the line I bought a system camera, and started spending more time on my photos. It started out as a hobby, something fun, but eventually it became my job – which was fortunate, says Erik.

Where do you get your ideas?

– An idea could just come to me at any time, so I need to be ready with the pen always. I get ideas from more or less anything, it might be something that I see, or an unexpected connection I happen to make between two concepts. The idea is born from a rather straightforward line of reasoning, which I then develop further.

– I have always found inspiration in children’s books, and in the works of other artists, both the entirely unknown and the very famous; great artists like René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, and M.C. Escher.

The work in the front is called "If Lost, Please Call".

How do you go about making one of your ideas real?

– First, it’s about finding the right location, and then the right props. Sometimes, I build the props myself, in order to achieve exactly what I have in mind. It’s vital to produce an interesting composition to shoot.

– Finally, I combine all the photos I have taken into a single picture. I might have to return to that final image several times, at different times, in order to see it with fresh eyes. I want to be entirely happy with the result before I finish. One trick of mine is to reverse the image – it can sometimes help me discover new details that chafe a little, and need changing.

How long does it take to go from idea to finished image?

– Rarely less than a month, and sometimes years. I usually work on several different projects at the same time. That enables me to publish new images rather frequently, but still I never have to rush to finish a motif.

What do you think we might see in your future works?

– I’d rather not be labelled and feel that there are particular expectations about what my work “should” look like, so maybe I will work more with movies in the future? Or sculpture? That’s beyond my current skills, so I’ll have to learn those things if it comes to that.

– Cinemagraphs are really interesting, that is, stills with moving elements, such as water in motion. Maybe I’ll use some sort of moment-in-motion in future works.

Are there any of the works displayed at the castle with which you are particularly happy?

Full Moon Service and The Architect have turned out really well. I like it when I am able to produce a really special light. Other than that, it’s always the more recent works that I enjoy the most, the ones that are in the making. I like looking forward.

What is it like to have your work exhibited in an 800-year-old castle?

– It is an honour to be allowed to display new art in an old setting. I wonder, by the way, what Gustav Vasa would have thought? I do think he would have approved, since he always strived for the new, the modern things.

– The venue really adds something extra, and the lighting in the hall has turned out beautiful. It’s fun, too, to be allowed to open an exhibition at this time, mid-pandemic. I think we really need this, to just dream for a while.

It is an honour to be allowed to display new art in an old setting.

Erik Johansson

  • Behind the Horizon is displayed at Kalmar Castle until November 7th.
  • The exhibition includes 52 works, 3 of which are completely new.
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Page published by: Destination Kalmar