MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Johanne Lykke
Please introduce yourself and what you do.
My name is Johanne Lykke. I am a Danish visual artist based in Copenhagen. I have a fine art degree from The Jutland Art Academy in Aarhus (2015) and I have been an artist-in-residence across Europe, the US and South-East Asia. I primarily work with large scale watercolor paintings and collages on paper. When I don't spend time creating new projects in my studio, I work as an educator, teaching art through public programs in Copenhagen as well as freelancing as an independent voice actress.
Explain your process.
My process is based on a very non-traditional use of the watercolor medium as I cut out painted shapes of paper. These “cut-outs” are arranged into botanical-inspired compositions. The arrangements are either laid out on the floor or on walls and then glued onto paper before being framed. In my process I also spend time researching various flowers and floral symbols to generate new compositions and to find inspiration for color, shape and form.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
I am interested in the relationship between the concrete and the abstract in nature. Confronting the viewer with a towering vision of the natural world, I aim to let my work act as a gesture, a cultivation of the poetic potential of flowers and a transmission of sensitivity in nature.
What impact has Covid-19 had on your work?
Yes, it has definitely had an impact. During lock-down, I spent a lot of time in the countryside as everything was shut down in Copenhagen. I picked tons of wild flowers and I worked outside on sunny days. I think this made me appreciate nature and helped me realise that I wanted to return to the flower as a generator of my artistic work.
Which other female artists inspire you and why?
I am very attentive towards women painters from the American art history and most of my inspiration comes from the women of Abstract Expressionism and Color-field. Some of them were barely recognised in the art world during their time, and I can only imagine how hard it must have been to try to make it as a woman artist in the 60s. Vivian Springford, Agnes Martin, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell are favorites of mine. When it comes to contemporary women artists I am very drawn to the British artist Annie Morris and her use of vivid color. The pink color in Austrian painter Martha Jungwirth’s work is also very satisfying to observe.
What is your position on feminism and the fight for women’s rights and equality in the art world?
Facts are that many art schools educate their students using art history books showing little or very low representation of work by women artists. Galleries and museums are still presenting a visible imbalance between represented women and male artists. And according to several recent surveys, work by women artists is still valued less than work by male artists. I think we can change systemic sexism by continuing to insist on pointing out the truth of it. I will continue speaking up about it until I see the change.
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