Johan Rosenmunthe currently lives and works in Copenhagen. His work spans from creating artists’ books to sculptural installations and performances. Also, the work of Rosenmunthe deals with potential energy, time, and archaeology.
Rosenmunthe studied at the Fatamorgana, a Danish school of art photography in Copenhagen. And obtained his BA in Human Science at Roskilde University, Denmark. At this moment he is also the co-founder of curatorial collective and publishing house ‘Lodret Vandret’, exhibition space ‘New Shelter Plan’ and art book festival ‘One Thousand Books’.
‘Ever since childhood I’ve had a fascination for stones and objects that I feel are sacred. As a boy I was always collecting things, dismantling machines, finding the most essential part and walking around with it in my pocket.
I almost worshipped that perfect object, the one that contained the spirit of whatever I’d taken apart. As a small child I collected stones and polished them with special tools. That interest has remained with me.
In my work, I’m interested in the point at which two tracks cross. One track is materials, their transformation, and our understanding of them over time, the changing histories and energies they can have as a result of human involvement. The second track is my interest in the physics of photography.
My fascination for photography arose from an interest in the camera as a technical tool and in the whole technical set-up that surrounds photography. What happens in the darkroom? What kind of technical processes is going on there? Those are the questions that drew me in.’ — Johan Rosenmunthe.
↑ (left above)
(Citroën Xantia Stationcar, rope, cooking pots, paper, catalogs, cork)
Installation for the group exhibition Kunsten i Centret, curated by Markus von Platen inside Ballerup Shoppingcenter. All materials were found in the shopping center and adjoining parking lot and installed at two different locations in the shopping center for a month during normal service.
↑ (one above)
Exhibition and artist’s book
(archival pigment print (200 x 150 cm), poster prints (A1), framed inkjet prints (38×57 cm), Nexus CCTV surveillance system, 64 Hammershøj bricks, plasma monitor, wallpaper paste, tripods, mirror, laser level, chalk line)
Exhibition at Galleri Format, Malmö Sweden
In this installation, Johan Rosenmunthe utilizes an image taken from the Empire State Building down on the roofs of Manhattan. And shows printed crops and zooms into that single image. Part of the exhibited images are posters pasted directly to the wall, others are ‘framed installations’ of images.
The master image is present but monitored by the Nexus CCTV 4-camera surveillance system along with other parts of the installation. The audience will partake in the surveillance of each other during the show.
64 Hammershøj building bricks placed directly on the preserved floor and functions as a support for a few frames. A laser level constantly confirms the position of bricks, posters, and a single frame. The laser line is extended by a line of chalk. All materials at the show are for sale.
Artist’s book published by JSBJ/Etudes in 2011: Élargissements.
↓ (all below)
Hidden in Plain Sight
Lacuna Playback (limestone, aluminum, pigment print)
Object Echoes (various objects, resin, acrylic, Ytong)
Waiting for Osmosis (various objects, vitrines, oil, tonic, demineralized water, caffeine, acid, base, Ytong, vase, cups)
Overgaden. Institut for Samtidskunst, Copenhagen
When we drink from a cup or kick a stone not many of us think about where they come from, why they look like they do, or what they may have experienced along the way. But perhaps the objects surrounding us have more to say about ourselves and our world than we think?
Questions like these are central to the art practice of Johan Rosenmunthe. He uses sculpture, performance, and installations to probe the relationship and the dynamics between human and non-human ways of being.
In the exhibition Hidden in Plain Sight, the artist pursues this trajectory, transforming the ground floor of Overgaden into an archaeological site for the speculative study of objects, memory, and time.
A leitmotif of the exhibition is Rosenmunthe’s hypothesis that objects absorb information from their surroundings through sound waves, hormones, shifts in temperature, etc.
From this perspective, the extended limestone landscape in the first section of the exhibition becomes a data-packed source embodying the stories of million-year-old life forms, geological disruptions, industrialization, and the transportation of the material from the limestone quarry to the exhibition space.
What if we could extract this knowledge? Inspired by scientific methods and the industrial domain this hypothesis develops in different ways in the works in the exhibition.
In Waiting for Osmosis, for example, objects like toothbrushes, violin bows and a robotic arm are immersed in liquids of various colours in backlit glass vitrines with a glow of science fiction and alchemy. The liquid in one of the vitrines can even be tapped and drunk to create a bodily connection with the objects within it.
These speculative layers of the exhibition are coupled with an aesthetic exploration of ordinary materials and everyday articles, which thus become charged with new meaning.
In a series of prints Rosenmunthe scans and juxtaposes objects we often fail to notice or value, but which are infused with a strange, compelling aura as a result of the artistic selection and transformation.
In one of the prints cables coil organically, and in another the bristles of a broom rise like artificial vegetation. A displaced view of the familiar can also be seen in Object Echoes.
Here the artist has embedded objects like a slide mount and a control panel in plastic that has then been sliced to offer an unfamiliar perspective on the encased objects. In doing so the artist shifts focus from the function of the objects to the narratives implicit in their material composition and design and what these reveal about contemporary life, much like the discovery of a tool from the Iron Age.
With Hidden in Plain Sight Rosenmunthe highlights the way our material surroundings form part of cyclical processes of change at the physical level and level of meaning, both of which are closely intertwined with human existence.
The invitation is to reach a deeper understanding of objects and the world of materials, which as the exhibition title implies can expose overlooked aspects of our lives that are right in front of us – embedded in matter.
The Danish Arts Foundation
The Danish Art Workshops
Knud Højgaards Fond
Den Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse
Ragnvald og Ida Blix’ Fond
The City of Copenhagen
Some photos by Anders Sune Berg