I’m watching Christin Johansson’s latest artwork. As the last shot slowly fades I’m not breathing, and for a long time my rational mind is strangely unsettled. What was that? My mind is struggling to understand, as I’ve promised her to write about my experience. My experience is visceral, emotional, personal and transpersonal, but it’s certainly not cognitive. The mystery and depth of her work does not transmit easily into words. With Christin Johansson we are taken on a journey of purification, transformation and a life/death/life cycle that transcends our usual frames of reference. We are entering a realm of archetypal energies, that are just on the verge of human experience. The artist becomes a like a priestess shaman; a mediador between human and transhuman levels of consciousness, as she creates a sacred, magical space.
Something precious is being dug out of the clay and something else is being buried, for someone else to uncover at at different time and space: memories, realities, meanings come and go, in the versatile clay that serves as the perfect medium for transformation.
Having followed Christin Johansson for over a decade, it is obvious that her work has now entered a phase of existential and spiritual depth. She is stepping out of the time and space that is connected to her physical existence and identity as Christin Johansson, and into a bridging of realities. In the performance based Her a Alter Ego Universe she recreated Augustine Adler, a whole past life identity unfolded around 18th century Meissen porcelain. After a stay in India her work took a direction of spirituality which manifested in the performance of a ritual in Her Porcelain Spirit. With Purification of Her Porcelain Spirit she now seems to end a cycle. Something precious is uncovered from the massive clay, she knows exactly how to find it, and after meticulously transforming the clay into re-enlivened material, she buries yet another set of secrets – for her future self to come back and find?
There is an sense of reincarnation to the imagery and symbolism of the work. A cycle ends but a new begins. An egg has been formed, and is carried into a distant future of light.
Through her own purification and ritual, the artist becomes a mythological being that exists in and facilitates the passage between life and death, like the Norns from old Nordic mythology that are weaving the threads of life; binding, knotting and connecting meaning and fate. Something very deeply in me is touched. As I’m watching the video again I know it. This is the complete transcendence of art and life into ‘the-not-yet-known’. Art can hold that space. It just did.
Dr Louise Mazanti. PhD in contemporary craft