Are you full? Per Johansen's “MÆT" (meaning “FULL” or “SATURATED”) explicitly encircles the subject of speed, particularly related to mass production. Photographs marked by a socially critical observation, commenting on the “feel” that defines today’s artificial overconsumption of products and the contemporary’s consumer mentality.
"MÆT" is composed by reproductions of meat, vegetables, pasta and other foods, asphyxiated in various synthetic plastic containers.
Photographer Johansen chooses a light, reminiscent of the Dutch still life painters, contained by soft light and shadows, which are determining factors for the subject’s mood.
What is the “MÆT" series about? The artist shoots plastic bottles filled and overflowing with raw and bloody meat, exploring human consumption and calling into question the ethics of the meat industry.
At first glance, the viewer is faced with the optic result of something seemingly aesthetic and perfectly harmonious: sausage, chicken, eel, liver and fish in the front row with a twisted perspective once one takes a closer and better look.
Disturbance, provocation, decadence and disgust are the main highlights of Johansen’s motifs, inevitably inviting thus the viewer to consider the morality of using a once-living being in art, while making a raw statement against cruel techniques in meat production.
The harmonious balance is interrupted when the viewer is confronted with the crude synthetic plastic world, where the recycled plastic bottles stand in for the human stomach and appetite, symbolizing at the same time today’s careless consumption.
The plastic bottles contain suffocated organic vegetables and meat, preserved in jars along, ending up looking less like food and more like grotesque captives
Johansen chooses a minimal expressive path, following the "conventional" and seductive advertising language, however by adding the element of disharmony when he consciously breaks the “advertising code” in order to make his point. The point being the revelation of a truth applicable nowadays, where prosperous countries and consumer society overindulge on vast amounts of nutrients, including genetically engineered food, e-numbers and pesticides, which are “launched” in order to endorse the global and lucrative food industry sales statistics. At the same time, an increasing number of consumers suffers from obesity and undergoes obesity surgery to “fit into the common social standards”. Are you full now?
Content Editor Annie Markitanis