Johnny Abrahams – ‘The very color of welcome’
Opening March – Copenhagen 2022.
EXHIBITION | TEXT | SINGLE | BIO
As a means of introducing greater humanity in his work, Abrahams uses a crude hand saw to cut the plywood panels on which he stretches his burlap canvas. The uneven edges of the wooden panels pierce through the burlap’s irregular and coarse texture – all leading to a rougher, grittier finish than his older pieces. Johnny Abrahams willfully embraces the “accidents” brought on by his own hands and tools, and finds perfection in imperfection.
These hand-sawn “cut canvases” were first displayed in Abrahams’ recent exhibition ‘Archaic torso of Apollo’. The title refers to a poem by Rilke in which the poet ponders on the enduring beauty of a headless Apollo statue. To Rilke, it is the destruction of the head that breathes life into this figure of a god. Such open praise of destruction resonates with Abrahams. Just as Rauschenberg once famously erased a drawing by De Kooning, Johnny Abrahams embraces destruction as a means of creation for the sublime.
Ultimately, the crux of Johnny Abrahams’ work lies in his concern for form, texture, and colour. Perhaps it is his pursuit of the truth and the elemental, that has led him to this point. His embrace of the irrational is not at all antithetical to the compositional beauty that he has chased throughout his career. Destruction is an inevitable part of nature. It has always been part of his work, and it will continue to be part of his rhythm.