Johannes Høie references the history of the monumental painting. He builds the composition like a frieze in which the narrative is allowed to unfold over the entire canvas.
Høie uses liquid marker and brush directly on the wall, alternately connecting to the traditional aesthetics of cartoons and calligraphy, near and distant art history. The style is fabulous, wild, and dense in detail – a thicket of references, moods, and symbolism organised in large sweeps across the wall.
Høie’s eclectic pictorial world alternates the classical and expressionist, thematically playing with man’s relationship to the city, society, and nature.
The work can also be read as a contemporary version of monumental medieval and Renaissance paintings, incorporating the richness these works possess in both colour, composition, and storytelling. Just as the monumental painting was supposed to display power and social hierarchies, Høie uses contemporary attributes to highlight challenges and structures in our own time. He combines lightness and darkness, something unfamiliar and something unifying. In a condensed visual language linking it with older art history, the painting also explores what alienation, chaos, and vulnerability can mean today.
Johannes Høie (b. 1981) is a Norwegian artist who lives and works in Oslo. He is educated from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design and the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.