Peter Johansson


Peter Johansson argues for the inclusion of vernacular Swedish folk art as yet another of society’s “Others,” but in the same gesture sets inclusion at cross-purposes with itself; he problematizes it as deftly as Fred Wilson does. But where Wilson instrumentalizes rude ceramic pickaninnies as divining rods locating lost African-American histories and masked racial attitudes, Johansson scans day-tripper souvenirs such as Dala horses for traces of Swedish National Romanticism, a cultural movement that began in the late nineteenth century.

The “otherness” Johansson reawakens is regional authenticity. Today’s typical “Swedishness” can be said to have been born in Anders Zorn’s studio in Sweden’s Dalecarlia region in the nineteenth century. Johansson’s art tropes Zorn’s nationalism, but then he warps it through the tourist’s Sweden lite, and freckles it with accumulated peccadilloes from the

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