Cecilia Hillström Gallery is pleased to present Johannes Heldén’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, Worlds. Working with a variety of media, Heldén explores subjects like ecology, evolution, sentience and artificial intelligence. Often set in a near future, his fictional worlds are created by means of images, animation, text and music, combined in site specific installations, performances and digital works. In this exhibition, Heldén continues to explore the intersection between word and image. The exhibition title Worlds refers to the narrative and logic of a near future where species are mutating or disappearing – a scenario constructed with both visual and literary means.
The exhibition consists of artefacts, hybrids of technology and nature that seem to have evolved beyond our time: an island generator producing fictional islands based on imported data; Hybrid plants being carefully stored in suitcases animating life through electricity, showing the lifespan of the evolved species – one still alive but endangered and the other extinct.
Taking place in a reality close to ours, the works in the exhibition seem to be collected and displayed in a fashion similar to that of a scientist. By playing with the basic need of human nature to understand our surroundings through registration, the artist cleverly displays a setting where humans are absent and other lifeforms continue to evolve in the wreckage of our own making, telling a story beyond ours with non-human narratives. In the encounter between technology, nature and the man-made lies a poetic wonder of the everyday, our environment and how to comprehend the incomprehensible.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new collection of poems titled First Contact, which will be published by Albert Bonniers Förlag in April. First Contact is also the title of one of the first artworks where Heldén clearly combined image and text in 2011, a theme he has continued to explore through various works and projects. The new publication takes place in the same fictional world as the works in the exhibition and is part of the same narrative, enriching each other while being autonomous works.