Simen Johan

​Born in Kirkenes, Norway in 1973, Simen Johan is fascinated by ignorance and uncertainty, and the discomfort they cause, which has left its mark on his work. Born in Norway and washed up in Sweden, the artist explores how our imagination comes into play when something seems inexplicable. "To give everything a meaning is a necessity for us, and this is how our imagination shapes experiences. Religion is a prime example of how we use myth and illusion to reduce fear. Currently at home in New York, Johan has exhibited in countless museums and institutions around the world and is represented in prestigious collections such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cleveland Art Museum, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2003, his first book, Room to Play, was published by Twin Publishers. 'Simen Johan's works contradict classical nature and animal photography in almost every respect. Unlike a documentary photographer who would observe the animals and photograph them in their natural environment, Johan meticulously creates each of his "portraits" on the screen: step by step, layers of real and digital imagery are joined together to create an opulent fusion of reality and fantasy. For his latest series, Until Kingdom Comes, wild animals, but also those kept in captivity or even stuffed, serve as models; their image is then carefully transposed into artificial, almost fairytale landscapes. With sometimes post-apocalyptic associations, Johan's pictures ultimately reveal more about humanity than about the animals portrayed.' – Holly Kyte, freelance journalist for The Sunday Telegraph and Telegraph.co.uk among others