Moderna Museet Malmö: Johan Röing

Johan Röing, Nefertiti, 2008-2012 © Johan Röing Bildupphovsrätt 2019

This summer our curiosity lead us again to the North. We spent some of our summer in Scandinavia, with longer stops over in CPH and Malmö, where we discovered this small and inviting museum in a former power station from 1901 with an orange extension that is an architectural exclamation mark in the city.

Here we are discovering the Malmö-based artist Johan Röing.

Johan Röing (born 1958) is first and foremost a sculptor. He works with a variety of materials, but predominantly in wood and metal. It is his wooden sculptures that are the focus of our exhibition here at Moderna Museet Malmö. In the New Gallery, some twenty works are presented that span more than four decades from 1972 to 2019.

Johan Röing, Vert Renault, 2002 © Johan Röing Bildupphovsrätt 2019

Röing’s simple and raw sculptures of people or animals may at first glance recall the work of the so called Neuen Wilden artists of the 1980s in Germany. But Röing’s approach is much more sensitive. The point of departure is often a clear idea, but one that is allowed to change as he works on it.

With great skill and reverence, and with even greater faith in his own intuition, he has devoted himself to the material wood. He processes the material with a chainsaw and a disc grinder, but he never loses track of the ongoing dialogue with the material. Although his art has evolved over the years from figurative work to an increasing level of abstraction, there has always been something archaic and mysterious about Röing’s sculptures. His work is constantly changing. Röing often returns to earlier pieces, reworking and reconsidering old sculptures, for example.

Installation view ”Johan Röing”, Moderna Museet Malmö, 2019 Photo: Helene Toresdotter/Moderna Museet

The latest works are monochromatic panels that have an almost ecclesiastical character. Also typical of Röing’s sculptures are the bases, which he creates and selects with great care as an essential part of each work.

Johan Röing was born in Malmö, but he grew up in Germany. He studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf between 1979 and 1986 under teachers such as Tony Cragg. He returned to Sweden in 1996 and now lives and works in Malmö and in the rural village of Fuglie south of the city.

Curator: Iris Müller-Westermann

Photo credits: Mari Balsama Wilson and the Moderna Museet Malmo.

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