Johannes Holt Iversen, visual artist from Denmark. Photo © Alfredo Falvo
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I am a visual artist and I mainly work within the disciplines of sculpture, installation and painting. In my work I tend to work from the material and out first, having in mind the lineage of artistic creation and representation.
Currently I am investigating the representation of light, shadow and matter; this often results in an object-based work, whereas not the figure itself only is important, but also the space and the viewer surrounding the figure has an important role to perform when engaging with the works. In my practice I have been drawn towards illuminating natural and cultural occurrences such as paintings, banners, marketed products and the use of shapes and symbols.
My works can be abstract at times, but are always related to a real-world counterpart, often appearing from the use of materials; used in other industries such as retroreflection technology from the aviation industry, functional aesthetics from general construction and chrome pigments from the car manufacturing industry. Well… When it comes to my beginnings, it was quite hectic to be honest.
For many years I studied Digital Communications at the university and was not aware that my urge to create stemmed from an artistic call. All I knew at that time, was that I had an existential need to create, so whenever the university classes finished I would rush home and sit for hours and paint until the early mornings at times. It all got together for me when I was enrolled to the Art Academy in Amsterdam back in 2016 – here I was confronted with almost every aspect of contemporary art and artistic practices which helped me grow as an artist.
2.What are your favorite museums in the world? Why?
I have quite a personal favourite in the danish national museum SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. Every time I was lost in deep thought and crisis, trying to survive my own displacement at University. I would skip classes and just go to this museum. Here I would watch their vast collection of 20th century paintings and just sit in front of them for hours until a certain balance within me had been restored.
It was one of the first stepping stones in my artistic realization, besides that encounter; a big international exhibition of Asger Jorn in 2011 named “JORN International” on AROS Aarhus Art Museum had a big role in my artistic path, the way they curated that show was to make the viewer get in touch with not only the story of the wildhearted artist, but also let the viewer dig deep into his fascination with materials and thick paint strokes. It was like a lightning bolt that zapped through my entire being I remember.
Another favourite must be the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam besides being the museum that worked closely together with my former art academy Gerrit Rietveld Academie, they have an impressive collection of contemporary art.
Their exhibitions and shows has been a key ingredient into cultivating me and educating me in contemporary art from various decades. Historically and aesthetically they’ve made an important and deep impression that permeates into my own artistic oevre.
3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.
Since I’ve had a long education in digital communications behind me, I know that social networks will change and evolve effortlessly, I don’t have a personal favourite or prefer one medium above one other. As I see it, the social network I am looking for hasn’t been developed yet. Human interaction is an ever changing factor, that means the need of social networks will evolve continuesly.
I remember back in 2004 and also in 2008 I was impressed how easy it was to get in touch on Facebook and MySpace and now using Instagram and WhatsApp we’ve got additional ways to communicate visually and pose questions. However I strongly believe that despite the use of technology, the physical meeting with the art work will never change.
Or at least until we’ve blurred the lines entirely between the physical and virtual world, we will need to stand in front of the actual physical object or meet the spacial experience.
4.What are your future projects?
I have an exciting solo exhibition with my main gallery Annika Nuttall Gallery (DK) late 2021 which I am looking much forward to fulfil. Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020 it has been quite a harsh effort to even think out future exhibitions and think these in new ways.
But I have much to tell through that solo exhibition I can feel. That is a very good sign I think. Besides that I am arranging a series of group exhibitions in London (UK) through curator Angeliki Kim Jonsson from Dynamisk Independent Curating & Art Advisory which I look very much forward to as well.
5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?
I think #MuseumWeek has the opportunity to move things forward in terms of how to deal with exhibiting and communicate art history in a refined way online and globally. When talking about a learning curve I think that #MuseumWeek, specializing in how to organize museums under a global event, makes it possible for us to build confidence in digital art experiences way better.
Especially during these challenging pandemic times I’m sure that #MuseumWeek has an unprecedented opportunity to build a global unity between art lovers, museum professionals, galleries and artists.
Johannes Holt Iversen (Amager, 1989) is a Danish painter and sculptor, but he began his artistic career in the music industry and singing for the first time on stage at the age of 9. In addition to the US, his music was also released in Asia and, among his songs, he wrote “Dreamology” with American R & B / Soul artist and singer Omar Wilson. In 2014, “Love Train” was produced by J-pop producer Ryuichiro Yamaki (Namie Amuro, Airi Suzuki) and by producer Pete Maher (Katy Perry, Depeche Mode, U2). The artist participated in the development and launch of the Spotify Artists open data program.
Apprentice of the Danish painter and sculptor Erik Rytter (former assistant of Poul Gernes), Holt Iversen in 2016 participated in the International Biennial of Design at the Остен Museum of Modern Art in Skopje, Macedonia, and at the CHPEA Museum in Herning, Denmark, where he participated in the Danish national television series “The Great Masterpiece Challenge” on DR1, based on the concept of the British television network Sky Arts, where he painted a replica of Carl-Henning Pedersen’s 1939 CoBrA painting “Bird Eating”.
In 2019 the works of the “Lascaux 1.0 beta” series were acquired from the Danish National Art Collection by the Danish Arts Council and the Danish Arts Foundation and, in addition, he won the Banditto Main Residency Art Price Gallery based in Italy for his new discoveries on the contemporary painting. Johannes Holt Iversen lives and works his studios between Amsterdam and Herfolge, Denmark, near Copenhagen.