The son of a Lapland farmer, Albert Johansson trained at the Modern Art School in Stockholm. His works are in the collections of the Gothenburg Art Museum, Kalmar Art Museum, and the National Museum in Stockholm.
This dark painting and collage, signed on the back and inscribed “Offer Och Bön Bild Från Aniara” (“Sacrifice and Prayer Image from Aniara”) is presumably inspired by the epic science fiction poem “Aniara,” by the Nobel laureate Harry Martinson, published in 1956. Over 103 cantos, the poem relates the tragic tale of a space craft carrying colonists from a dying Earth to Mars. Martinson’s work is a poetic reckoning with the tragedies of the Second World War, with the inspiring and destructive scientific discoveries of that time, with events such as Hiroshima that forever changed the way man relates to his own inventions. Another major theme of the work is the need for art in the face of such existential uncertainty.
The painting itself, though monochromatic, creates a primitive emotional topography in its layering of materials, the considered juxtaposition of shapes and lines, the differing surface textures, and the artist’s deliberate incising of the canvas. The overall effect is one of dark, ritual intensity.
As with a number of Johansson’s paintings, the back of the canvas is equally compelling.
Titled and signed by the artist.
46 1/2″ x 35″
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