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Johannes Hägglund: Happy Without You
Galerie Forsblom Stockholm
9 November–21 December, 2018
Opening in the presence of the artist, November 8 at 5–7 pm


Johannes Hägglund works with abstract painting in which texture and composition have a clear presence. The paintings are based on an organic construction in which form and color take precedence over the selected motif. He approaches painting as a process, in which he first sketches with ink on paper and then transfers colors and patterns to the canvas. The challenge lies in creating the same feel on canvas as on paper. Brush strokes have powerful energy and movement, and the pattern must continue in a repetition beyond the canvas frame. References to various ornaments and decorations recur, along with a love of gingerbread trim, pastels, and Basset’s Allsorts wine gums.


Color composition has deep significance in Hägglund’s work. Primary and complementary colors intermingle with one another and common shapes such as ovals, circles, rhombuses and squares are depicted, but without perfectionism. Spatters of color are permitted to remain; childlike elements and the artist himself become part of the work. Nothing should be too perfect or corrected. In one painting, a circle is unexpectedly transformed through the addition of two straight lines and one curved one: Hägglund recreates the smiley face and elevates its meaning. Sometimes the shapes are intentionally cut in half, forming a type of punctum. It chafes a little bit, which is entirely the point.


Johannes Hägglund (b. 1993) studied at the Gerlesborg School in Stockholm. After completing his bachelor degree he entered the Master Programme in Fine Arts at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, which will be completed in 2020. His work has been shown at the bachelor degree exhibition at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in 2018 and at Liljevalchs Spring exhibition 2017 in Stockholm. The exhibition at Galerie Forsblom is his first solo presentation.