Simen Johan’s Until Kingdom Comes

To experience Simen Johan’s most recent work, Until Kingdom Comes, is to immerse oneself into  a realm where fantasy and reality collide and where the mystical is born out through biblical mythology.

Johan’s images are crafted using  traditional photographic techniques combined with Photoshop manipulations.  Live or taxidermied animals (fig. 1 and fig. 2) are placed into both natural and  man-made environments reflecting a troubled connection between man and species and blurring boundaries between the real and unreal,  beauty and brutality.  The title of the work implies that these conditions will continue until the  biblical prophesy of the end of the world comes to fruition.  Then and only then will life come to a blissful resolution.

Fig. 1 Simen Johan, Untitled #155, From the series Until the Kingdom Comes. C-Print. 2010 © Simen Johan
Fig. 2

The current work  references several animals endowed with Biblical symbolism.  Johan  presents us with the Lamb of God, entangled serpents, and a tree of doves all of which point to life and to death.   The lamb (fig. 3) sits majestically  under the canopy of a tree.  A slight smile drawn across its face,  similar to that of the Mona Lisa,  suggests that the lamb knows something we do not.

Fig. 3

A nest of snakes (fig. 4) is seen against the background of  what appears to be a quarry.

Fig. 4

They feast on  an endless supply of rats, doves and flamingos that descend from the world above, a world of light and flight down to a world of shadow and death.   The doves, (fig. 5) white as snow, are marked impure by the red of the berries they seek.

Fig. 5 Simen Johan, Untitled #153, From the series Until the Kingdom Comes. C-Print. 2008 © Simen Johan

For every photograph of graceful creatures and pristine landscapes, there are portrayals of animals showing pain, fear or exhaustion in landscapes that are more desolate than beautiful (fig 6 and fig.7).

Fig. 6 Simen Johan, Untitled #153, 2008
Fig. 7 Simen Johan, Untitled #140, 2007

What appears to us  in the form of beauty and tragedy is OUR life until the kingdom comes. You can find more work by Simen Johan on his website

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