Charlotte Johannesson is a self-taught artist and a pioneer in the use of digital graphics as an artistic medium. Over the past five decades, she has developed a rich oeuvre which combines the craft technology of the loom with the digital technology of computer programming, exploring their formal and conceptual connections.
She originally trained as a weaver and began to make tapestries as art in the 1970s, creating work that often satirised mainstream politics.
In 1978, Johannesson traded her loom for an Apple II Plus, the first generation of personal computers. Teaching herself to program, she transferred the same dimensions from her weave to the computer and started producing plotter prints and digital graphics as artworks.
A pixelated figure reoccurs throughout her practice. It can be found in the weave Terror, 1970, in several of the plotted prints, the installation of 3D prints, and in the new painting Human, 2018. Marching forward, this figure is suggestive of Johannesson’s underlying interest in the constant human quest for knowledge.
In the ‘90s, Johannesson embarked on a series of caravan paintings, each including a camel and a palm tree. Johannesson considers the caravan as the internet of ancient times as they facilitated communication across gigantic deserts. She is also fascinated by the singularity of the camel, their endurance and mysticism.
Charlotte Johannesson: Save as art?
Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg, Switzerland
5 November 2023 – 11 February 2024
The Milk of Dreams
59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy
23 April – 27 November 2022
Unweaving the binary code
Hannah Ryggen Triennale, Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway
25 March 2022 – 7 August 2022
Charlotte Johannesson: Take Me to Another World
Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
7 April – August 17 2021
Critics’ Picks: Charlotte Johannesson
Review by Dan Ward, Artforum, 6 June 2022
Eight standout shows to see during London Gallery Weekend
Exhibition Round-up by Laura Allsop, Art Basel Stories, 10 May 2022
The best exhibitions to see at London Gallery Weekend 2022
Exhibition Round-up by Ben Luke, Evening Standard, 6 May 2022
Interview by Robert Stasinski, Kunstkritikk, 17 May 2021
Review: Pressure | Imprint
Review by Kristian Vistrup Madsen, ArtReview, January/February 2019
Rhea Dall and Charlotte Johannesson: STATION TO STATION
Interview by Rhea Dall, Bulletins of the Serving Library, Issue 4, September 2012
Charlotte Johannesson (b. 1943, Malmö, Sweden) lives and works in Skanör, Sweden. Her practice involves working with both the craft technology of the loom and the digital technology of computer programming, exploring their formal and conceptual connections. Trained as a weaver, Johannesson began creating tapestries as art in the 1970s, work that often satirised mainstream politics. In 1978, funded by The National Swedish Board for Technology and Development, she established the Digital Theatre with her partner, Sture Johannesson, in Malmö, Sweden. As Scandinavia’s first digital arts laboratory, the Digital Theatre functioned as an independent platform for both research and artistic projects and has been described as one of the most advanced Apple systems of its time, consisting of seven computers, printers, monitors and synthesisers. From these early experiments across textile and technology, Johannesson’s practice has developed to encompass a range of media including: weaving, painting, digital print and digital slideshows. Across these media, Johannesson continues to challenge the conditions of image-making and to enhance the synchronicity between material and digital production.
Johannesson’s solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg runs from 5 November 2023 until 11 February 2024. Recent solo exhibitions Nottingham Contemporary (2023); ALL LINED UP, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany; Circuit, Hollybush Gardens, London (both 2022); Take Me To Another World, curated by Mats Stjernstedt and Lars Bang Larsen, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2021); SOLO, Hollybush Gardens, London; …Dust and Shadow…Space and Time…, Hollybush Gardens, London (both 2018). Johannesson’s work has been exhibited internationally, including The 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams, Venice, Italy; the future looms, Emanuel Layr, Vienna, Austria; HEM (HOME), Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden; Unweaving the binary code — Hannah Ryggen Triennale, Kunsthall Trondheim, Trondheim, Norway (all 2022); Our Silver City, 2094, Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2021); The Blazing World, S|2 Gallery, Sotheby’s, London (2019); Mud Muses, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019); Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 2, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, UK (2019); pressure | imprint, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2018); Nordic Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2017); 32nd São Paulo Biennale (2016); Textila Undertexter,Marabouparken Konsthall, Sweden (2016); The Society without Qualities, Tensta Konsthall, Spånga, Sweden (2013); Forms of Resistance, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2007); and Pyramid of Mars, Barbican Centre, London, and Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, and Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark (2000).
Johannesson’s work is held in significant public collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE; Moderna Museet, Malmö, SE and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, DE.