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Rindon Johnson is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. Johnson’s sculptures, videos and performances have been shared at Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel; Human Resources, Los Angeles; MoMA PS1 and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne - among others. Johnson is the author of Nobody Sleeps Better Than White People from Inpatient Press, the virtual reality book, Meet in the Corner from Publishing-House.Me and Shade the King from Capricious. Johnson’s writing has been published by ArtForum, The Brooklyn Rail, Cultured, INCA Miami, The Miami Rail, The New Museum and Rhizome. Johnson lives between Brooklyn and Berlin.
Rindon Johnson (°1990, San Francisco, United States) makes sculptures, videos, paintings, photos, poems and drawings. By studying sign processes, signification and communication, Johnson wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.
His collected, altered and own sculptures are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. The possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces, as Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, he focuses on the idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment: the non-private space, the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting.
His works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. With a subtle minimalistic approach, he creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.
His works are often about contact with architecture and basic living elements. Energy (heat, light, water), space and landscape are examined in less obvious ways and sometimes developed in absurd ways. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, he uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. The work incorporates time as well as space – a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.
His works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. By questioning the concept of movement, he considers making art a craft which is executed using clear formal rules and which should always refer to social reality.
His works bear strong political references. The possibility or the dream of the annulment of a (historically or socially) fixed identity is a constant focal point. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, he makes work that generates diverse meanings. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image.
His works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By focusing on techniques and materials, he absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.
His works focus on the inability of communication which is used to visualise reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, he often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.
His works establish a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, he tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations.
His works are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By investigating language on a meta-level, he finds that movement reveals an inherent awkwardness, a humour that echoes our own vulnerabilities. The artist also considers movement as a metaphor for the ever-seeking man who experiences a continuous loss.
His works question the conditions of appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas normally function. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, he investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.
His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of sculpture: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By choosing mainly formal solutions, he tries to grasp language. Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctnesses, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.
His works isolate the movements of humans and/or objects. By doing so, new sequences are created which reveal an inseparable relationship between motion and sound. Rindon Johnson currently lives and works in Berlin.