Joakim Allgulander (1965) is a Swedish painter, sculptor and conceptual artist that lives and works in Gotland and London. Allgulander studied at the College of Arts and Crafts in Stockholm and has become Sweden’s most renowned contemporary artists. The work of Allgulander is frequently represented and exhibited both in Sweden and Internationally.
Since his move to London two years ago, Joakim has been involved in a number of projects with a number of curators and has been represented by Jealous Gallery ever since – http://www.jealousgallery.com/artists/joakim-allgulander. Exhibitions include ART14, The International Art Fair (Jealous Gallery), The Original Print Fair RA (Jealous Gallery), Spring Salon, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm – where two of his major works “The Human Katapult” and the neon chair “Burned” were exposed. Allgulander is also known for his neon piece “Bubble” which was featured in the UK TV show The Apprentice.
The work of Joakim Allgulander is characterised by a conceptual base, combined with the skill of craft and a love of the practical process. His work demonstrates a curiosity and desire to explore different media and techniques. His body of work comprises paintings, installations and prints.
“You develop your unique style or skill as you go, but in painting you don’t try to show how skilled you are. I try to make work that is free, loose and easy. You have to stop in time, and not over do it.”
Down the Rabbit Hole was Joakim Allgulander’s first solo exhibition in London, which took place in June 2015 at Grace Belgravia. The work was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ Drawing inspiration from the novel, Joakim managed to evoke the surreal and dream-like state presented in this literary masterpiece.
If ‘Wonderland’ weren’t a magical fantasyland, Alice would have been probably hurt by the fall and lost her way as she has no idea where she’s going, what she’s facing, or how to get home. Going down the rabbit hole is a one-way trip – the entry, but not the exit, to the fantasy world – Joakim Allgulander invites you to explore it through the lens of his curiosity and emotion. The show explored the spiritual and philosophical journey through madness to wisdom.
Chandeliers were his main body for this show and consisted of a series of larger paintings depicting chandeliers. The duality occurs in these works through the interpretation of these objects as symbols for a better life; but also through the possibility of these becoming organic creatures living a life of their own.
Artist Joakim Allgulander
Artist Joakim Allgulander
The work of Joakim Allgulander is characterized by a conceptual base, combined with the skill of craft and a love of the practical process. His work demonstrates a curiosity and desire to explore different media and techniques. He describes himself as a multi-disciplinary artist. “I am easily distracted. So I have to focus on the same project in order to really grasp it. I think I’ll probably focus on chandeliers for the next while. Perhaps I’ll make three-dimensional versions,” he declared after he finished his painterly chandelier works.
Nature is also a very prominent theme in his artwork. Allgulander explains: “I’m from Sweden, where you’re very close to nature all the time. The chandeliers appear almost like creatures taken from nature, perhaps trees.” He recalls coming to London for the first time and expecting grey and dull city and was surprised by finding bursts of flowers and colours:” I lost my way a bit in London and found myself making flower paintings. That was kind of unusual.”
Allgulander invites us to a place where we can explore our preconceptions of ideas, release our inhibitions, and to start really questioning to gain true wisdom and true knowledge. In its insanity, in its complete separation from the world of adults, one can begin the long journey to true knowledge. His work Mushroom first presented at Grace Belgravia; was intended to represent the psychedelic dream-like trip found in popular culture.
The use of neon and florescent colors is an intentional effort to bring out light a light he can’t find in paintings. “That’s why many years ago I began working with neon I think, couldn’t get enough light out of the paintings. And I still do, and I also paint things that project light. Even my mushroom sculptures glow-in-the-dark, they’re fluorescent plaster.”
His interest in paintings and installations that project light is also seen in the use of shadows in his vast range of print work. Isolated landscapes and settings coupled with interspersed stills of families and individuals; are presented through a magical interplay of light and shadows were bodies emerge from plays of light. It is evident that the artist remains inspired by that contradiction between light and darkness and how they co-exist in our daily lives.
Today his work continues to explore the existential dilemma in his art. There’s existential content and a dynamic play with contrasts throughout Allgulander’s work; everything from what is real and what is imagination, natural and artificial, new and old; to more archetypical opposites such as light and darkness, and life and death. Allgulander continues to create work that evokes both emotion and curiosity.
His work continues to demonstrate a curiosity and desire to explore different media and techniques, through works that cover figurative and abstract paintings, sculptures, graphics, prints and installations. He says of his work: “I think very carefully about materials and colours, but my method changes according to the piece. I start with the white canvas, and sometimes I scrub the colour into the canvas with a cloth, and try to allow light to come through. Some canvases are very fast, very direct, others take a month and a half or more.”
A wonderful interview was released during The Alice in Wonderland exhibition in London. Art Blogger Imogen Baxter was in conversation with Joakim and explored the magical theme whilst giving us insight into the artist’s creative process. You can read the article on artattackapp.wordpress.com/ and enjoy the wonders of an Artist’s mind.