Curiosity is one of the main driving forces behind everything we’ve accomplished. If it wasn’t for it, we would probably still be living some darker lives in some darker ages. Joakim Allgulander is a Swedish artist who draws his creative energy from his endless curiosity about the world that surrounds him. From patterns of human behavior, landscapes of his home country, to memories, everything seems to fuel his inspiration. He works in sculpture and painting, and even the techniques he uses project what is on his mind, not just the finished pieces. A constant need for exploration of different media and techniques, as well as the messages he sends, make Allgulander’s work stand out in the ocean of contemporary art.
His most recent series of paintings is based on the Swedish landscapes, more precisely, on the memories of the landscapes that surrounded him as a child growing up in rural Sweden. The series is semi-abstract in correspondence of the natural abstraction of the memories, as the paintings become fragments, where the whole tree is not shown, thus showing the inevitability of forgetting some parts no matter how dear something is to you. Allgulander uses the layering technique that refers directly to the multitude of dimensions of a single memory, slowly building up his paintings in a way similar to out brains often overlay latter additions to already existing recollections.
The artist frequently deals with existential dilemmas but also adds the elements of humor to the difficult topics of love and hate, life and death. He somehow manages to make the artworks feel poetic and they always leave a deep emotional imprint with the viewers. Allgulander is famous for using neon sculptures as a medium of his artistic expression and his thought of the world. He uses neon based on the commercial value of similar ads and tackles the issues of consumerism, human relations, and our behavior. In one of his most famous pieces, titled Trust Me, he combines a powerful message with devastating consequences – the sign calls for placing the viewers trust in the artist, but is almost 900 degrees hot at the same time, creating contradiction that is ever-present in human relations, and emphasizing that even something to benign and good as trust could be twisted and uses in a wrong way and against us.
Allgulander studied at Öland Folk School and at the National College of the Arts and Crafts in Stockholm. His art is imbued with curiosity and contrasts, as he portrays humans and the world as we experience it. He is constantly experimenting with different medium and techniques, always seeking the best way to express himself. The artist’s practice is broad, both in subject and media, with the constant presence of existential lyricism and poetic content.
Featured image: Joakim Allgulander – portrait, photo credits artattack
All images © Joakim Allgulander