© Carl Johan Erikson, Tank nr 26
In the 70's when it was popular to collapse uncontrollably on the ground while under the influence of the Holy Ghost, my whole family went from Tingsryd in Småland to Olofström in Blekinge. Here there was a series of meetings being held by the Norwegian preacher, Terje Berntzen, who at that time received a lot of attention. He was an expert at praying for people so that they collapsed. At the end of every meeting, those present approached the stage to receive a blessing. One stood in line on the podium and Terje Berntzen approached and put his hand on your forehead. He prayed and talked in tongues and with a slight push of the forehead, one fell to the floor. Not everyone collapsed. Some stood and swayed about for several minutes. My tall brother-in-law, Anders, never fell.
It wasn't everyone who could talk in tongues but I had the ability to for five years. When you talk in tongues you leave conventional spoken language and follow one's own string of words, like surrealism's automatism. Formally, the Holy Ghost, 'the helper' aids people to communicate with God. I remember that the feeling of departing from conventional language was like falling uncontrollably.
It is fifteen years now since I lost the ability to talk in tongues. As an artistic experiment I have tried again recently. I went into deep concentration, put on the tape recorder and started speaking in tongues. But it didn't work at all. The speech was flat and constructed, so called 'false tongues.'
The Free Church movement in Sweden was unique in its size, respective to the population, up to 13% of the population had some form of connection to Free Churches in the early 40's. The movement was parallel with the labour movement and the building up of the welfare state.
Carl Johan Erikson
Carl Johan Erikson studied at Fotohögskolan in Gothenburg 1988 - 92 and has exhibited at Gothenburg's Museum of Art, Moderna Museet and Gävle Art Centre, among others. Last year Carl Johan participated in the Art at the Cinema project, among other projects. In 1992 Carl Johan took part in the group exhibition 'Makt/Vanmakt' (Power/Impotence) at Index together with Lars Nilsson and Anders Boqvist et al, so it is not the first time Carl Johan exhibits his work at Index, despite this being Carl Johan Erikson's first solo show in Stockholm.