Per Johansson, who was born 1984 in Sweden, is a post-1980s artist. Different from many post-1980s artists with inhospitality and indifference, Per is a mild and modest person willing to think and communicate. Per is good at seeing the enchanting moments of the mysterious nature: the sun breaking out of a cloud, a tiny part of a lake, or some vaguely seen shadows. These parts of nature are all in some way related to light: in the ripples on the lake, in the fog, in the sky over an island, or in the twinkle below the eyelid when somebody just opens his eyes. Sometimes the light is clear and sometimes it’s vague. Different kinds of light finally become paintings: the phenomenon, the illusion and the vision of light. The phenomenon of light is Per’s observation on light and shadow in nature; the illusion of light is different pictures in his mind; and the vision of light is the spiritualized light Per experiences in prayer, within his soul.
Per has been passionate about light for many years. In the process of his observation and contemplation on light, Per transforms the light into abstract paintings on canvas. They are mainly in warm colors with an atmosphere as light as air, which brings a sense of rhythm into his paintings. Per’s depiction on light is inspired by William Turners (the forerunner of French impressionists) great accomplishments on picturing
light. Different from Turner, Per omits the factors which are interrupting the natural atmosphere, such as forests, trains and bridges which often appear in Turner’s paintings. In addition, Per’s paintings are not so obviously connected to specific religious issues as Turner’s. Per focuses on the light and the reflection of light, creating a pure atmosphere of meditation for both the audiences and himself.
Per never received formal art education. He was born with his love and passion for painting. He paints by intuition and from his own experience, which makes his painting unadorned and simple. Normally Per uses black color as background and on top of this foundation he paints with warm colors to create different levels of light, which is very similar to the style of heavy color painting in Yunnan province. Due to his high ambitions, Per is still working on some technical issues, such as the grasping of drawing style and color, the building of the airy sense. All of these elements need more exquisite skills to make the pictures even more vivid.
I believe Per is a tenacious and persisting painter, very interested in the process of art creation. A metaphor can describe him: if he believes there is water underground, he will dig until water comes out. Per’s pursuit on light comes from the desire in his heart, and his natural inspiration is the dialogue between his soul and God. In this process, Per gets familiar with the phenomenon, illusion and the vision of light.
Among the so-called emerging human beings – the post 1980s people who are closer to consumption and popular culture – there are some persons who still has passion for life and enchanting scenery, which
originates from the thinking on ultimate life existence. Regardless of time, human’s have always looked up gazing for the light, this search for an answer, for light and for spirit is urgent and inevitable. Therefore it’s very valuable that Per, who is such a young artist, already has reached such a high spiritual level.
Luo Fei,January 30, 2008