Lena Johansson has been widely acclaimed for her small, intense oil paintings on panels with motifs derived from lifestyle media. Her lush, sensuous brush technique creates a glossy, desirable image that extends, and comments on, the shiny commercial—and fashionable—imagery much of her work is based on. Her interest in fashion photography and commercial imagery is based on her opinion that they are deeply essential, referring to our dreams and desires. For her, these kinds of images are deeply human and speak to our need for beauty, seduction and sexuality.  When preparing for a painting she treats these lifestyle photos as any other object. She examines them through painting and filter them through herself and the painting process.


Lena Johansson is also using the very same materials inherent in the world where she draws inspiration for her practice: fashion and life-style photography. Instead of using the traditional canvas and stretchers, her paintings are also made directly on simple white T-shirts, jeans and scarves. In contrast to her works on panels, these works are quite imperfect and rough, showing traces of the painting process with drips, stains, spots and dirty fingerprints. 


In her latest work, new references have been added: the criminal world's weakness and fixation on luxury brands as a status marker. She uses evidence photos in court proceedings on confiscated waist bags and purses from well-known luxury brands as models and paints them on different found materials, thereby complicating the image of the major luxury conglomerate brands and also the allure in the very same motifs that she is drawn to.


Lena Johansson (b. 1975) lives and works in Sweden. She has previously exhibited at institutions such as Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Vestfossen, Norway, Moderna Museet, Malmö, Sweden, Lunds Konsthall, Sweden and Ystads Konstmuseum, Sweden.

Installation shots