About

JOHNNY HÖGLUND

 

Sexistentialism

 

 

When we hide behind façades and remove ourselves from our predetermined identity, we defy public expectations, causing us to articulate our emotions and desires in entirely different manners. Our withdrawal from the norm then becomes an invitation for us to explore unknown realms in which new identities can be assumed and controversial experiences can be considered.

 

In Höglund’s paintings, this transformation of oneself is depicted through the contrast between the elegant, traditional painting technique and the unnerving nature of his subject matters; faceless they become blank slates for viewers to place themselves into. They are met by an ambiguous sense of confronting intimacy and incomparable detachment, created by the oxymoronic fact that in order to fully be ourselves, we also need to assume total anonymity. The extent to which this is accepted lies in the hands of the viewer’s interpretation.

 

The composition of his paintings is striking in their way of formulating the relationship between the charged nature of anonymity and the tense, psychologically empty space we inhibit when new personas are adopted.The stark backgrounds make the presence of the robed figures more demanding of the viewer’s attention and increases their potency, for the paintings as Höglund’s own creation as well as something for the viewer to be influenced by.

 

Essentially, a person’s sexuality is their most basic and core part of their personality, and still it is often also the most hidden. The anonymity of Höglund’s subject matters in combination with the way in which they are portrayed causes their sexuality to represent, become, and finally define their presence in Höglund’s art. The viewer of his paintings is encouraged to take the unorthodox representation of the meaning of sexuality as an invitation to come into closer contact with their own desires, and ultimately explore the creation of a whole new concept: sexistentialism.

 

 

Nike van Schie