Biography of Johannes Wohnseifer
Johannes Wohnseifer is known for his diverse range of works that make complex references to different cultural spheres. Often borrowing images from popular culture, political propaganda and advertising, the artist creates subversive messages that play with our understanding of symbols. Johannes Wohnseifer’s collages, paintings, photographs and installations often confront issues such as death, war and the passing of time, using adopted phrases and visual languages.
Born in Cologne in 1967, Johannes Wohnseifer is influenced by both Minimalism and Pop Art. His work combines Pop Art’s obsession with commercial imagery with Minimalism’s critique of mass consumerism. Through a process of appropriation, decipherment and reinterpretation, Johannes Wohnseifer takes the language of advertising, spam emails and other ready-made cultural signifiers and subverts them to critique the spectacular image production we are faced with on a daily basis. He often creates invented logos based on the branding of well-known companies, such as his 2004 work Braun Sugar, which borrows the logo of the consumer product company Braun and combines it with sugar in reference to The Rolling Stones song, Brown Sugar. This piece is suggestive of his other works, which often use a comical approach to address the frivolity of advertising and its underlying propaganda.
Johannes Wohnseifer continues to live and work in Cologne as well as in the town of Erftstadt. Solo exhibitions have been dedicated to the artist internationally, namely at Casey Kaplan in New York, Galerie König in Berlin, Galleri K in Oslo. His work is part of major collections such as the Christian Boros Collection, Berlin, the Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf and the Saatchi Collection, London. He has also been involved in a number of group exhibitions including Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation and Contemporary Drawings Collection both at the MoMA, New York.