Press text "The Thin Veil", Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm, Feb 24 - Mar 26 2022
Johan Thurfjell's work combines everyday observations with myths and mysticism with which he builds up his own distinctive poetic symbolism. Regardless of his choice of material or technique Thurfjell’s sculptures, paintings, video works and installations show a visible enjoyment and dexterity in his handcraft.
The narrative that permeates Thurfjell's new exhibition The Thin Veil, touches on the universal appeal of that we cannot see, that we cannot touch. The most existential musings, such as those about life and death, are manifested in different cultures and eras in various forms as myths, rituals and symbols. These ruminations could be seen as an attempt to reach from our reality to a possible other, that which can be jointly described as the afterlife.
Time and light play important roles in Thurfjell's exhibition. The glow of blue light evokes what in Japanese folklore is called the Hour of the Ox, the time when the boundary between the world of the living and the dead is at its most delicate. In the work The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits, various Japanese woodcuts have been brought together into a seamless animation where the viewer travels through a foggy landscape towards dusk. Projected onto a thin, blue fabric, the animation floats ghost-like in the center of the room.
In Ascent we can, as if spying through a peephole, study the symbolism of candlelight. A flame extinguishes, becomes smoke and rises. In the work Gates images are projected onto the wall from the dim light of a candle flame through panes of etched glass. Like icons, they are at once visually tangible yet elusive. Other works embrace the prosaic character of passing time. This very phenomenon is described on the four sides of a series of lanterns in the work Dusk: through a window a bird is seen leaving its perch on a branch; the lights of a house fade to dark, room by room, at the end of the day.
The work A Possibility reminds us of how small shifts can make something seemingly familiar seem alien. An acorn falling from nowhere becomes a message from an unknown place. The sound of an acorn dropping mysteriously into a bucket creates a soundscape whose rhythm, like a metronome, like a pulse, marks the passing of time.