Johan Röing | Överarbetad

7 April - 14 May 2022
Overview

We are pleased to present Johan Röing's first solo exhibition at the gallery, entitled Överarbetad ['Overworked']. The title refers to Röing's distinctive process, deliberately remodeling, deconstructing, and renewing existing sculptures in a steady stream. Or as he himself would put it, overworking them.

 

Röing started working with wood as a young student and processes the material with a chainsaw. His approach is explorative, and the visual expression is directed by the dialogue with the material. Older sculptures are reconsidered, re-sawn, re-painted and re-sawn again, one step at a time, much like music being released in different versions. The painted surfaces of Röing's sculptures bear traces of the artist's hands and tools. Scratches, scrapes, dents, and irregularities in the wood may recall cuts and bruises, enhancing the individuality of each sculpture.

 

The exhibition brings together a series of some twenty wooden sculptures spanning from mid-size to large in scale, some of them even monumental. Although his art has evolved over the years, from figurative to increasingly abstract, there has always been something archaic about Röing's sculptures. Among the more figurative works is the bright cerise Rosa Torso, which may call to mind Alexandros' Venus de Milo. The stylized torso is composed out of triangular shapes, like excavated prisms. Yet another recurring form is the zig-zag, accordion-like structure of the slender, towering sculptures in Cadmium yellow and Schweinfurt green.

 

As a student at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, one of the most prominent educational institutions of the postwar era, Röing found himself on the one hand in the midst of the young postmodern sculptors enrolled at the academy, and on the other hand in the vicinity of the Neue Wilden artists in the neighboring city of Cologne, characterized by vivid colors and broad brushstrokes. Röing's early sculptures emerged in this context and have since then evolved even more towards the simple and rough. His work is clearly influenced by the postmodernist reaction against minimalism and conceptual art but is nevertheless difficult to place within a specific genre. His visual expression undergoes a constant synthesis between these very opposites and emerges ultimately as the material is being processed.

 

Johan Röing (b. 1958) was born in Malmö but grew up in Germany. He studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf from 1979 to 1986, with professors such as Tony Cragg and Irmin Kamp. He returned to Sweden in 1996 and now lives and works in Fuglie, south of Malmö. Röing has previously been shown in numerous exhibitions in Germany and southern Sweden, including a solo exhibition at Moderna Museet Malmö in 2019. His work is represented in the collections of Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Skissernas Museum, Lund; Borås Konstmuseum; and Trelleborgs Museum.

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