Anders Johansson at Schiefe Zähne

Artist: Anders Johansson

Exhibition title: Mud Ladder

Venue: Schiefe Zähne, Berlin, Germany

Date: June 23 – July 27, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Schiefe Zähne, Berlin

Scenario for a straight-to-laptop television series taking a cue from Anders Johansson’s new series of paintings.

An influenza during a long-winded rain period puts an unexpected end to society as we know it. Weakened and left fending for ourselves, and since we forgot everything, most of us die straight away except for a tiny sliver of humanity, which is left to carry on the whole thing with a knife and a campfire and some boring books with broken backs. After a really long fucking time mankind is back in the game. This cycle repeats again and again until we crash-zoom in onto the sweaty back of a hot single woman in a pre-flood jungle slashing her way through the underbrush. This strong blazing head making new trails – we can call her Sandra – comes across different obstacles on her way. She scales down a steep ravine, stomps on a snake in the grass, quits drinking, and bashes some guy in the head with a rock. When she finally reaches a clearing she installs a new regime with a Neandertaler guy called Nicholas whom she keeps at her bedside in an iron cage. By the time she’s ready to retire, dissent and corruption has already spread throughout the entire body politic. She broods on it. Is it local, or is it systemic? Concessions are made: a communal diet (where grain and dairy are pretty much verboten), and a haul-ass work discipline.

Sandra gathers her last will (and energy) and tracks down a big garbage dump from history. She finds a cache of hemp and bamboo under a wrecked train and strings together a ladder. She squints up through the steam at the sun until she finds a landing on the hacksawed ridge. She mounts the ladder onto the landing and stands there for a second. We zoom out and start panning to the right. We see an enormous grid made up of the exact same picture frame, an army of little Sandras getting ready to climb and we realize we’re inside the body of a person and that person is sitting around the campfire with the knife and some boring books and some broken backs.

Man lebt zweimal: das erste in der wirklichkeit, das zweite in der erinnerung
— mel gibson

Text by Erik Lavesson