London-based artist Ben Johnson will present six new intricate paintings of half real, half imagined interiors. Johnson is known for his painstakingly detailed panoramic cityscapes and architectural paintings, made using a combination of computer-based drawing, airbrushes and stencils. In his new works, Johnson confronts the physical scars embedded in his chosen spaces. The artist is intrigued by the notion that layers of the past can be left written on interior architecture; the energy of a place cannot be changed by decoration.
Johnson’s Museum Rooms series depicts the majestic interior of the Neues Museum in Berlin, which was significantly damaged during World War II and left as a derelict bombsite, until a restoration began in 2003. Today the damage from by war is still partially visible, marring the museum’s former grandeur, which can be seen Johnson’s paintings which document the museum before and after the works. In another painting, a homely domestic Mexican interior (now the Museo Regional de la Revolución) belies a tragic past not immediately noticeable; only upon closer inspection do the bullet holes pock marking the brightly-coloured walls become apparent.
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