Johan Bergström Hyldahl, Here, There, Far Away, painting, photography, 22 February–7 April 2018

We are pleased to present Here, There, Far Away, Johan Bergström Hyldahl’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. With this show, he presents an installation of 3D-images and paintings on copper, accompanied by a sound piece based on faintly recognisable music and sounds. If there is a narrative, it is up to our own imagination to construct it – but we are provided with some clues.

In the gallery space, a monkey, a tiger, a panda and an elephant greet us expectantly, as if looking forward to a great adventure. These animals, rendered in 3D-prints, look both alive and completely surreal at the same time. Four friends ready to embark on a journey, they seem to share their bright-eyed outlook with the romantic lineage of explorers from the 16th century to early space exploration and today’s quest to colonize Mars.

Scientific endeavours and inventions are recurring themes in Johan Bergström Hyldahl’s art and underlie his interdisciplinary approach, both in subject matter and in the execution of the works. For instance, the work Time Flies, a painting on copper, is based on a topographical map. In the painting, the artist employs a process of ageing copper, using chemicals as a palette. The geology of the Moon is revealed, with scars and indents from meteorites having registered on the surface for millions of years.

As in previous works, the playfulness in Johan Bergström Hyldahl’s work has a dark side; a sense of lack of purpose seems to infuse the protagonists, as though they are struggling to come to terms with the futility of it all. In Here, There, Far Away, Bergström Hyldahl makes us look at ourselves from a distance, through the eyes of an expectant and cuddly animal, while our lonely planet swirls around in a universe too complex to grasp.

With surrealism and humour, Here, There, Far Away is an exhibition which balances between what is near and close, and that which takes an enormous effort to reach. Maybe Mars isn’t such a bad idea, after all?

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