Imperfect Reality with Figures and Challenging Abstraction

The Conversation is pleased to present “Imperfect Reality with Figures and Challenging Abstraction“, an installation by American artist Chris Johanson. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in Berlin. Johanson’s multifaceted output includes painting, drawing, sculpture, and music. He is renowned for immersive installations that depict the hope and despair of contemporary life as we deal with the crushing conformity of modern existence. His exhibition with The Conversation will be comprised of new paintings and works on paper made with recycled materials. Johanson’s work has blended a simple, unschooled style with an exuberant sense of color and a playful but sharply critical edge. These new works bringing to focus themes exploring the delicate balance between nature and technology. In Johanson’s words, “The human structures that we have made are at odds with the organic nature of the world. This causes conflict.”

While a good deal of Chris Johanson’s works have been firmly rooted in hybrid of figurative and abstraction, for this exhibition Johanson will shift direction to more explore the figurative. Johanson is a keen observer of contemporary life. He views his practice as an exploration of painting as an artifact of how life is lived; and the notion of art as a nexus at which nature, culture, and self come together. Johanson’s artworks have a poetic quality, communicating moods or states of mind. Whether abstract or figurative, his work expresses the artist‘s strong beliefs in environmentalism, compassion, and peaceful co-existence. The influence of Johanson’s diverse artistic practice on a younger generation cannot be overstated. His interdisciplinary approach shapes a unique cosmology that continues to inspire all of us towards a greater consideration of art and life.

Chris Johanson was born in San Jose, California in 1968. He was part of a community of artists formed in San Francisco’s Mission District in the late 1990s, and first gained widespread attention for his participation in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Johanson has exhibited widely in museums and galleries internationally over the past decade. He has had solo exhibitions at museums including the Malmö Konsthall, 2011; Portland Art Museum, 2007; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2003; and the UCLA Hammer Museum, 2001. His notable group exhibitions include Dialogue of Hands, Glasgow International 2012; A New York Minute, Depart Foundation, Rome, Italy; the 2006 Berlin Biennale, Germany; the 2005 Istanbul Biennial, Turkey; Monuments for the USA, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati and Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA.

The Conversation is a nomadic cultural project founded by Los Angeles-based filmmaker and independent curator Aaron Rose and Circle Culture founders Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer and Dirk Staudinger. A progressive space, where concepts in all mediums can come to fruition through a diverse and talented international group of creative protagonists. More a think tank than a gallery, The Conversation cultivates an exchange of ideas that happen in a three-dimensional context.