1968, San Francisco. Lives in Portland, Oregon.
Johansons installations respond directly to his surroundings on the west coast of the United States. Presented in this biennial, the works represent another kind of coastal culture, very different to that in İstanbul but frequently apparent here through American media and film culture. Johansons view is a highly personal take on the place. There is a documentary element to the pieces, with the lifestyle choices of the area immediately noticeable. Surfers, yuppies, slackers and latterday hippies constantly appear in the work, often as somewhat lost or dissatisfied individuals in a landscape of sea, sun and beautiful emptiness.
Johanson is a self-taught artist who began his career in San Francisco as part of a street art and graffiti community based in the Mission district of the city. Mostly working on cartoon-like drawings of society around him, he told acutely observed visual stories. With that background, he gradually developed larger installations, like the work here. These encompass a whole world of archetypal characters mixed with abstract paintings and other elements in a chaotic ensemble that just about hangs together. As a whole, the work presents a micro-cosmos of life in his part of the world, a slightly alienating environment that seems complete unto itself.