Critics’ Picks

Charlotte Johannesson, Save as Art Yes/No, 2019, wool, digitally woven, 50 3/8 x 22''.

Charlotte Johannesson, Save as Art Yes/No, 2019, wool, digitally woven, 50 3/8 x 22''.


Charlotte Johannesson

Hollybush Gardens
1-2 Warner Yard
May 12–June 18, 2022

“THE TARGET IS DESTROYED”; “Reflex”; “Global Rotation”; “Save As Art? Yes / No.” The words inscribed across the surface of Charlotte Johannesson’s work suggest a terrain divided into stock phrases and coded lines. In the abridged display of her work at Hollybush Gardens, composed of numerous textile hangings, prints, and digital slides, Johannesson presents an image-world of jagged lines and pixelated icons, knotted together by thread and code. Primarily working between the loom and computer, Johannesson finds an aesthetic and technical resonance between the two machines, tracing the logic of the latter back to the former. The tessellated patterns of landscapes, animals, and figures that frequently appear in her work migrate between media and mutate. A plotter print depicts a modified world map; a figure is divided into bytes and stitched patterns; and as threads dangle and loosen, the warm, soft touch of wool transforms into an invitation to conspiracy.

Trading in her loom for an Apple II in the late 1970s, Johannesson and her partner Sture Johannesson established the Digital Theatre, Scandinavia’s first computer graphics studio. At the back of the gallery, a large screen presents a selection of artworks made there on a timer, cycling through imagery of serrated, harsh edges and 8-bit symbols. Through these renderings of digital zones and coarse surfaces, Johannesson translates the vicissitudes of a visual culture that surrounds and swallows us. It is the structure of the grid that is brilliantly reproduced and thought through in her work, the grid into which we are all plugged.