- Artist Statement
- Curator Statement
- zingmagazine project
Chris Johanson created this piece for his solo exhibition in January 2001 at Vedanta Gallery in Chicago. At the time, Chris did simultaneous exhibitions at Vedanta and Bodybuilder and Sportsman Gallery with the themes of mountain and fortress. He made and installed the sculpture Mountain and Fortress at Vedanta. At Bodybuilder and Sportsman, Chris built a human-sized fortress where people could step in and view one of his video works.
Visually, Chris Johanson’s Mountain/Fortress consists of two miniature paper mache sculptures—one of a fortress, the other, a mountain. The mountain is graffitied by a fortune cookie message—something that makes one either rethink his relationship to mountains and fortresses, or to oneself. And like the fortune cookie, these tiny sculptures beg to be metaphorically opened, or at least examined further; a viewer can only read the saying scrawled on the mountainside by bending down to the height of the sculptures. Like when Alice swallows the contents of the “Drink Me” bottle (the shrinking/growing fluid in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland), bending over the mountainside reaps tons of benefits:the element of scale and the message combine to form an ironic/iconic message, so that rising, one feels the ultimate power of our relationship to nature, buildings, and one another.