Simen Johan’s ongoing photography series, “Until the Kingdom Comes” is the one that he started in 2005 featuring terrific portraits of animals that blend artificiality and naturalism. The artist constructs a surreal kingdom of wild animals through the meticulous manipulation of elements photographed from various geographical locations all over the globe.
Johan blurs the boundaries between the familiar and the otherworldly, the beautiful and the threatening, the real and the unreal, the amusing and the eerie, by splicing together original photographs of animals with often contradictory habitats. Such provocative, open-ended images posit a certain feeling of uncertainty and explore conflicts and contradictions that are inherent in the human psyche.
While all Johan’s images are visually compelling and stunningly beautiful, they create apocalyptic undertones, as each of the photographs is devoid of human beings. They might illustrate the future of the world, creating a powerful statement about the consequences of the environmental degradation and the human-imposed threats to nature. The overlapping ecosystems evoke a not-so-mythical world where human intervention caused ecological havoc.
Johan’s witty and thought-provoking photographs illustrate a potent and even malevolent side of Mother Nature . They also are deeply emotional, and present questions, appealing more to the heart than to the head.
It’s a multilayered project that combines political as well as biblical references with the exploration of digital manipulations and the deceptive nature of human perception.