The Past Is Not What It Was
Opening reception Thursday March 10
Georges Bergès Gallery is pleased to announce The Past Is Not What It Was, a Johan Wahlstrom exhibition that reorganizes the sociopolitical project of art itself, and thereby contributes to rewriting the historical function of the field.
In today’s world, where art seems no longer to propose or build imaginary or utopian realities, we encounter another opus of a Swedish painter, Johan Wahlstrom, which works to do just this: that is, transform our reality into the utopic representation of ourselves. Wahlstrom’s paintings in this exhibition serve to reframe the aesthetic-political equation. He raises a question: does art become sociology or anthropology in how it maintains its specificity regarding the past, present, and future? He is interested in the dialogue amongst various communities. The time of a transitory past or the concept of a new normal inevitably interpose the global context and its lack of universal ethical values. Thus, this exhibition must be seen from the perspective of the artist’s self-mandate to act in the social space to explore different tensions created by political and economic factors.
New series of his well-known faces emphasize at least two interesting problems. One is the integration of the new reality and new acceptance of the past. Many issues of powerful social content, discussed largely in the context of the global mass media, are present here. His work is the result of his interaction with everyday news and different communities of people. And through it, he reflects upon the way in which the individual and society can grasp the changes caused by the liberalization of the economic systems that provoked today’s new reality.
Johan Wahlstrom (Swedish, b. 1959) is one of today's most vocal artists known for his unencumbered critiques of current social political landscapes. In 1998, Wahlstrom moved to a small village in France where he immersed himself in his painting for seven years, part of the time under the tutelage of Swedish artist, Lennart Nystrom. Wahlstrom's dark narrative centers around the depiction of heads and torsos inspired by handwritten critiques captured in cryptic prose on scraps of paper that permeate his studio. As always, a most acute observer of the human condition.
Georges Berges Gallery represents emerging and established artists from around the world. We are an artist-centered gallery seeking to connect collectors to some of the most transformative artists from around the globe. Many of our artists’ works have been vetted and added to the art collections of major museums, including MoMA, Tate, Met, and Guggenheim, among others.
Georges Berges personally travels the world visiting artist’s studios and collectors’ homes. Through his travels and work he grows perspective about the global art world and brings to light artists that are gaining recognition within their region. By working directly with national and international museums, collectors, and artists, Georges brings into prominence artworks that are significantly relevant to the art industry and the broader global community.