a snake, an enormous snake - Jupiter's moon Europa could be infected too. STHLM 2000
installation view Johan Zetterqvist
When I visited Johan Zetterquist in his studio, he was already saying that life on this planet was a disease. He gave me a section of dialogue from the American science fiction film Matrix. "There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern...Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, a plague."
When Johan talks about his work and methods, his perspective takes on planetary dimensions...
Johan claims that nothing we humans do can be anything else but natural. Everything is natural, no matter what we construct, create or add to reality. He means that anything else would be impossible. This might seem perplexing and confusing, but actually it seems completely natural, at least if your view of reality is the same way as Johan Zetterquist's.
Johan thinks that these ideas started sometime during his youth. But they manifested themselves in his installation "And Life Stepped Onto Land", 1997.
Johan Zetterquist is no stranger to using a range of techniques to express himself. The installation showing at Index contains sculptural objects, sketches, photographs, video and audio. He literary occupies the room from floor to ceiling. Even the framework of the walls becomes part of the installation.
Johan's work portrays worlds that may seem familiar to us, yet at the same time they aren't. With his video showing a fake earthquake, he tells a mocking tale about our relationship to nature and to ourselves. In the notes accompanying the exhibition, Johan says, "I don't know what the opposite of design could be. It's close to being real, but doesn't really exist, hence non-design cannot exist, can it?"
...so the earthquake is...?