Leonard Johansson: Confessions of an Opium Eater

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Hanmi Gallery is pleased to present Confessions of an Opium Eater, an installation by Swedish-Korean artist Leonard Johansson. In this exhibition the gallery space is submerged by fictional characters, through which the boundaries between reality and a dream-like, drug induced state are blurred.

Escape from reality through fantasy, drugs and visual heroism is a theme frequently examined in the works of Johansson. He explores extreme social subcultures, like those built up around heavy metal and the occult. Johansson delves and probes into the artifacts and symbols of these themes, which he then translates into his own form of visual language and presents them in a celebratory or satirical state. The resulting works are often made as site-specific installations filled with paintings, sculptures and artifacts relating to the social subculture explored. With a wide range of different materials used in his work such as oil paint, spray paint and ready- made objects. The sense of humor and playfulness with material is constantly maintained throughout his practice.

Confessions of an Opium-Eater brings together an extensive group of new paintings and sculptures. The title alludes to Thomas De Quincey’s autobiographical book, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, which account his life as an opium addict in early 19th century London. The idea of choosing life in an artificial state over reality marks the starting point for the works presented in this exhibition.

The exhibition revolves around the human desire to experience more than what reality brings. Through a psychedelic and poetic visual language the transformed gallery space reveals different stages of growing dreams with in a decaying reality. Inhabited by fictional characters on each floor all in different stages of “tripping out”. The imagined has been drawn out and presented in the real world. Utilizing the current raw setting of the gallery, the works function as portals to euphoric dream-like states.

Having graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2014, Swedish born, Leonard Johansson now lives and works in London. He has exhibited in solo and group shows in both London and Sweden, recently participating in Interval at Gazelli Art House (2013) and Soda Stream at Bear Space Gallery (2013). He has also completed a number of public and private commissions.

Date: 28 March –27 April 2014, Everyday 12
Venue: Hanmi Gallery, 30 Maple Street London W1T 6HA

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