Artist: Johanna Arvidsson
Size: 70x50 cm
About the piece
Masken spricker is part of an ongoing project where Arvidsson works with zoomed details from antique oil paintings. The common denominator in the paintings she selected is that with time they have cracked due to different aging processes. It is exclusively paintings depicting women that Arvidsson has decided to work with, either portraits or nude paintings where she zooms in on parts of the face or body. During the period of which these original paintings were created, the artist was a man and the woman only an object for the male gaze. The paintings still look intact from distance and testify about a young velvet skin. But looking closer, the cracks becomes visible and reminiscent of aged skin and scars. In Arvidsson’s process where she zooms in on parts of the painting, every stain, crack and structure matters and becomes a part of the skin and the body’s impermanence is a fact. Parallel to the study of old oil paintings Arvidsson has also studied melancholia as the oldest form of mental illness, mostly from a female perspective. In this project she wants to weave together these two elements with the cracked paintings depicting women with the presentation of the female body in medical history, and mainly from the perspective of mental illness. The original drawings by Arvidsson are 140×100 cm. Masken spricker has a thin white margin around the motif.
About the artist
Johanna Arvidsson (b. 1983) is educated at the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program of Valand Academy, and is based in Gothenburg. Arvidsson tries to approach experiences that is not always presented in the world around us, such as depression and mental illness, but also the body’s aging and thoughts about death are part of the themes that interest her. For her, the truth has nothing to do with words, but our society is structured so that we have to use words to communicate and point to “the truth”. A starting point for Arvidsson’s work is to find other means of expression to handle these subjects, she does this mostly with drawing as a medium. She is interested in historical approaches to life and death, including how this is presented in culture. She also studies melancholy as the oldest form of mental illness. At the moment she looks at melancholy of all time – mainly from a female perspective, this study she works with parallel to studying the historical presentation of the female body in areas such as the history of painting and medicine.