After graduating from Central St.Martins in 2008 Johan Andersson became the youngest ever person to be shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award and named as The Independent’s top 20 Artists 2008. His selected work was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery and in the same year he was also selected for the Jerwood Contemporary Painters prize.
Since then Andersson has gone onto exhibit work along side artists including Anish Kapoor, Tracy Emin, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Howard Hodgkin, and in 2010 was selected to exhibit work in support of BreakThrough Breast Cancer at The V&A Museum.
He has exhibited and sold on the international art market including The Scope Art Fair in Basel and Cutlog in Paris. His work has also been displayed in major London Underground stations including Bond Street, Baker street and South Kensington.
In 2010 Andersson was selected by Sky Arts as the ‘one to watch’ young British Contemporary Artist to feature on a 6 week Documentary called ‘Art of Survival’ broadcasted July 2011. Johan was recently selected as top 100 most influential creatives by TimeOut as well as being featured on a TED talk.
The climax of the STOLEN FACES series was a solo show at the elusively private Long Gallery of Englefield house in May 2012 where the paintings of individuals marginalised by society replaced 17th century portraits of prominent earls and countesses.
BP Portrait Award 2007
This portrait is of his friend Tamara; their friendship adds a silent tension which is revealed in the shyness of Tamara’s demeanour. ‘This insecurity of posing nude,’ he says ‘is evident in the awkwardness of the pose.’ Johan says he was trying to challenge attitudes to voyeurism through his portrait.
BRAND FOR LIFE is a reminder of the realities and effects of our consumerism, seeking to redefine iconography and to challenge perspectives by juxtaposing western branding to a wider story. The purpose is not to condemn corporate culture, but rather to reconnect popular products to the process of making them, highlighting its human cost.
With the explosion of social media, we live in a culture of self-elevation, performance and adoration rather than tangible accomplishment. BRAND FOR LIFE aims to challenge the superficiality of over-commercialisation, not by shock but by understanding our connection to a wider humanity and by giving these characters a voice. The paintings bear no secrets, and are stripped down to just one core product. The brands shown represent consumer icons as a whole and the paintings are not commenting on these brands in themselves.
STOLEN FACES seeks to give representation and visibility, to those who do not conform to the artificial and image conscious (attributes so often propagated by onscreen and printed hegemony). In recognising the capacity of the global media (in line with public receptiveness) to distort ontological perceptions, the paintings stand both in defiance and pride, celebrating diversity in the knowledge that we are all uniquely made.
The presence of STOLEN FACES is an expression that encourages intimacy, whilst challenging continually emerging advertising milieus. In capturing both actuality and the elusive ethereal, the fusion of subtle technicolour has the effect of making ordinary details appear extraordinary. The subjects retain both an ephemeral and intense presence, provoking cognitive dissonance. By its nature, this encourages the viewer to confront their preconceptions of identity in a manner that is uniquely uncompromising.