advertisement
advertisement

These Apocalyptic Landscapes Are Super Grossly Made From Mold, Ashes, and Blood

Artist Hans Jörgen Johansen makes unusual, sometimes gag-inducing, landscapes.

From a distance, these apocalyptic landscapes look like paintings. But they’re actually photographs with a complicated past: Each scene is carefully constructed out of materials like mold, blood, grease, or ashes. Swedish artist Hans Jörgen Johansen takes as much as three months to create each piece.

advertisement

Why make art out of decay? “The material that I shoot has a symbolic and emotional value for me, but it also works well aesthetically,” Johansen says.


He sets up each scene on a two-by-two foot table, creating patterns out of things like wet flour and bread and waiting for mold to set in. “It can take from two weeks to a few months to make a picture,” he says. “After I design it, I take the photograph with a large format camera.” He never uses Photoshop.

Occasionally things get unusually gross, as with a landscape Johansen made from a bucket of old blood donated from a friend who hunts. But the result is always a carefully ordered image. In some of the artworks, Johansen plays with patterns from textiles, and even includes brand logos, like Louis Vuitton, repeated in the mold and dust.

He leaves it up to the viewer to decide what it all means. “It is inevitable that one sees an open landscape with a horizon in the middle of the picture,” Johansen says. “But what the pictures represent depends on the exhibition and the context they are in, then it’s up to the viewer to make an interpretation.”

advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley, and contributed to the second edition of the bestselling book "Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century."

More

Attend Innovation Festival keynotes with Robert Downey Jr. and Janelle Monáe for free. Claim your pass now.