Selected works by Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson
The Pianist (after Robert J. Lang) (2 views and 1 detail)


Blue tarp, paper, stainless steel

147x 340 x 198cm
Matt Johnson’s sculptures delightfully explore the paradox of visual forms through unorthodox and surprising materials. The Pianist (After Robert J. Lang) pays tribute to the American physicist and master origami artist who has astounded with his mathematically complex objects crafted from creased paper. Rendered life-sized, Johnson’s giant origami masterpiece is made from one 50 foot piece of tarp folded into the shape of a concert grand piano and player, humorously honouring genius with floppy monumentality. Johnson’s choice of blue wrapping is a clever reference to Yves Klein – whose signature International Klein Blue (also a scientific marvel) is synonymous with sublimation and glamour – theatrically elevating his wonky musician to iconic design status.
Matt Johnson
Malus Sieversii


Carved maple and acrylic paint

9.5 x 7 x 7 cm
Titled after the very first species of apple from which all other ‘forbidden fruit’ has evolved, Johnson’s Malus Sieversii is a life sized wooden carving of the fruit most associated with computers and record labels. Within its mostly eaten flesh, Johnson’s etched a miniature Escher-esque staircase, winding endlessly up and down the core. Drawing on both religious and scientific references, Johnson’s hand-crafted emblem of original sin humbly poses as a microcosm of sublime wonder and contemplation.

Other Resources
Additional information and images – Matt Johnson
Representing gallery, various images, exhibition history and biographical information
Past exhibition information, press kit and additional information
Matt Johnson’s Breadface (2004), a painted, cast-plastic crust of bread containing bite holes portraying a crude face, was received with such acclaim and inspired so many associations that the artist seemed almost to have reinvented Proust’s madeleine. Historical and pop-cultural references mingle in works such as Magic Eye (2006), an ‘all-over’ acrylic painting composed of minuscule fragments of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam (c. 1511) that merge into a whole if you stare at the canvas long enough, or in his Pietà (2006), made out of cast-bronze silencers, exhaust pipes and wheel rims. Johnson shows what can be gleaned from the prosaic everyday, if you take time to look.
Matt Johnson rose to prominence with a small sculpture Breadface 2004 that was effectively adopted as a logo for a survey exhibition of recent sculpture from Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum at UCLA in 2005. It was cast in plastic and meticulously painted to look liked the crusty end of a loaf of bread with eyes and mouth crudely torn out of it to form the appearance of a face. Johnson is a sculptor unafraid to take on the great themes in a search to unearth some of the more fundamental sources of expression.