Johannes Wohnseifer appropriates ready made cultural signifiers and reassembles them as invented logos. Both comically absurd and ideologically threatening, his paintings on aluminium infuse the frivolity of advertising with an underlying propaganda, subversive messages repackaged as high art design. Braun Sugar is a painting made specifically for a London audience: a witty merger of The Rolling Stones typeface with brand name German electric appliances infers an uncomfortable politic. Entrenched in the jargon of Pop, this painting makes a sly reference to a work by Richard Hamilton.
Johannes Wohnsiefer appropriates the cultural parlance of logo-ism into his own lexicon of conceptual art. Lying somewhere between text painting and ad-busting, Wohnseifer’s super-slick paintings allude to a corporate subversion, while they readjust the way art is read in contemporary media-influenced dialogue. In paintings such as Landscape, he plays on the traditional genre, stripping the image down to its minimalist signifiers of green and blue. Commodifying nature itself, he brands the sea and the sky with the jet-set slogans of global politics.
Johannes Wohnseifer uses the language of consumerism as a means to sign-post personal identification within a contemporary zeitgeist. His slick designs suggest corporate culture, national identity and art history, re-mastering their aesthetic properties as coded conspiracy theories. In Behind the Stripes, Wohnseifer’s image makes ironic reference to conceptual painting. Appropriating the colours of Olt Aicher’s design scheme for the 1972 Munich Olympics, Wohnseifer infuses his logo with implied menace. Through the impersonality of media-style messaging, Wohnseifer draws autobiographical significance, citing the interrupted broadcast of the games as his earliest television memory.
Johannes Wohnseifer’s Diamond is painted with comic mysticism: its corporate logo a meditative fixation, accompanied by a haiku-like slogan. Humorously playing on spiritualism as a by-product of global enterprise, Wohnseifer’s Diamond places advertising as the new religious art, extolling the virtues of faceless powers. Glossy, smooth and surface-perfect, this painting’s vacuous sentiment is replicated as echoing sublimity. Each work in this series has the same format: poster-sized paintings formalising subversive signs - themselves desirous commodities, loaded with philosophical meaning.
In Untitled, Wohnseifer’s portrait shifts uncertainly between charming artistic sketch and police composite drawing. Labelled “Acquired directly from the artist”, Wohnseifer writes himself into the narrative as co-conspirator, idle bystander, trauma groupie. Through documenting the aesthetics of cultural anxiety, Wohnseifer’s media-style images become unwittingly self-validating.
Johannes Wohnseifer presents the fictitious elements of an attempted assassination. Based on the story of the man who tried to kill president Ronald Reagan - John Hinckley – it presents him as pleading 'not guilty' based on the fact that he saw the movie 'Taxi Driver' by Martin Scorsese so many times that it was an 'Irresistible Impulse' for him to try to kill the president of the United States. With these works Johannes Wohnseifer is presenting the viewer with the links between real life and fiction in our culture, showing the influences that fictional and the real world have on each other and that very often the line between reality and fiction gets blurred in the process.