Leonard Johansson : Confessions of an Opium Eater
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.
Notes to Editors
About Hanmi Gallery | Located in London Fitzrovia with operations in Seoul, Hanmi Gallery is dedicated to creating a nexus between the Eastern and Western artistic practices and exhibiting modern and contemporary art to an international audience. With specialist knowledge in Korean and East Asian Contemporary Art, the gallery is a uniquely positioned platform for the interchange and dialogue that is constantly evolving in the global arena of contemporary art.
Working with both emerging and established artists and curators, Hanmi Gallery has a particular commitment to new media and interdisciplinary works, showcasing a stirring range of contemporary art from an international selection of artists. Due to undergo major renovation on the gallery’s London premises at 30 Maple Street, the gallery has been running a successful programme of Interim Exhibitions, responding to its raw, stripped-back state with often site-specific installation works. The inaugural opening and exhibition is scheduled to take place upon completion of the building works in spring 2015. For further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org