Annie Johansson’s artistic practice is concerned with finding the decisive moment when the materiality of the objects she creates reverberates within the body of the viewer, where the observation and contemplation of the art, congers a bodily experience. Johansson works intuitively, step by step, creating collaboration between her body and the material until the material has become its own body – an object. She works in dialogue with the nature of the material; how it behaves under the laws of gravity, how the room and the effects of light influence it. It is about the intimacy of textiles and how they convey a sense of humanity and physicality. She is in search for that which allows for an awareness of one’s body and one’s inner. Working with silk, wool and nylon, tufting is an important technique in Johansson’s work, born out of her longing to create in a more physical and hands-on way. A longing that is also about working in a large format and encountering something bigger than one’s own body, a thought that textiles can be intimate while being monumental.
Textile artist and educator
WHAT DOES FIBER MEAN TO YOU?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TEXTILE FIBER OR TECHNIQUE?
It feels difficult to choose a favourite among all fibers and textile techniques. The myriads of variations in textiles, depending on the interaction between technique and material, between different techniques and different materials, feel endless. This infinity and diversity is something that attracts me to textiles. I want to say that natural materials such as wool, silk and linen are my favourites among fibers (which I usually also work with) but even the contrast to these materials appeals to me. For me, it’s about finding a voice in the material, and sometimes I find it by searching the contrasts. The choice of technique is based on, besides what technique means to me as a doer, also on what it can conceptually contain. For example, for me the wool and wet felting have been about the physical aspect of felting, but also about the similarities of the technique to the constant geological movements of the landscape and the biological flows of our bodies. At the same time, I have been interested in how wool felting has been used as a metaphor and model of thought in philosophical reasoning. A material that stands for a free place, which has no center, no right and wrong side, and which is unlimited in all directions, constantly change.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST VIVID TEXTILE MEMORY?
One of my teachers in high school gave me a book about clothes as art, because I was struggling to formulate a school project where I had the ambition to sew clothes. But I didn’t understand how and got completely blocked creatively, focusing on the idea of function. In the book there were all kinds of completely non-functional but incredibly expressive garments. It was the first time I realised that the textile material can and may be used to create art.
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