Johan Österholm

Some Moon Walks
Peculiar Motions at Dusk

Mare Desideri

Untitled (Family Portraits)

Johan Österholm has a strong interest in the history of photography, the photographic process and its ability to speak to something that lies beyond the present day: of the traces that previous generations have left behind, and those that we ourselves will leave.

Österholm predominantly works with large format cameras and photosensitive materials in order to appropriate and visualize traces and passages through time. His contemplative practice spans from resurrecting his great-grandfather’s glass negatives to a typological series depicting buildings as repositories for memories.

In the series Untitled (Family Portraits), portraits of several generations are composited with Österholm’s own image. Our appearance and expression are an emerging picture of who we are, what we commonly call, “self.” This “self” takes many generations to create. Österholm’s subtle portrait appears haunted, exposing ancestral ghosts who follow their next descendant.

Österholm’s believes in an alchemical potential in moonlight. He uses nocturnal illumination to activate obsolete objects by exposing them to the glow of the full moon. This system was first used by Österholm to bring new life to glass negatives and positives that were created by his great-grandfather in the early 1900s, which depict the night sky. Next, he collected shards of glass from abandoned greenhouses, coated them in silver gelatin, and transformed them from collectors of sunlight into moon gatherers. Österholm continues to explore the infinite possibilities for transformation that is imbued in the reflected light of our closest celestial body, the moon.

Johan Österholm was born in 1983. He lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.

Johan Österholm, born in Sweden 1983.
Lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.

Master of Fine Art, Malmö Art Academy 2014-2016
Bachelor of Fine Art, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts 2010-2013
Gestaltande Fotografi, Gamleby School of Photography 2009-2010


Night Lights (Project Room), Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milano, Italy 2019

Apparent Magnitude, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, Germany 2018

Under Dark Skies, fotogalleriet [format], Malmö, Sweden 2017

Peculiar Motion’s at Dusk, KHM Gallery, Malmö, Sweden 2016

Family Portraits, Landskrona Photography Festival, Landskrona, Sweden 2015

Lunagrams, NOPX Gallery, The Others Fair, Turin, Italy 2014

Selected Works 2010-2011, Konstforum, Norrköping, Sweden 2012

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (in selection)

Vista Point. Re-connecting Nature, Kunstverein KunstHaus Potsdam, Germany 2020

Space Works, Tampere Art Museum, Finland 2020

Ethereal Dwellings (duo with Gonçalo Sena), Alta Art Space, Malmö, Sweden 2020

The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology, MIT Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 2019

Space is the Place, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany 2019

OSMOSCOSMOS, Centre de la Photographie Genève, Switzerland 2019

The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology, McCord Museum, Montreal, Canada 2019

Photo Basel, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Switzerland 2019

Moonlight, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden 2019

Back to th Future, The 19th Century in the 21st Century, The Mai Manó House, Budapest, HU 2019

Back to the Future, The 19th Century in the 21st Century, C/O Berlin, Germany 2018

Sculptural Landscape, Copenhagen Photo Fair, curated by Trine Stephensen, Copenhagen 2018

The Polaroid Project, The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany 2018

Jamais laisser les photos trainer, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milano 2018

Back to the Future, Foam Museum, Amsterdam, NL 2018

The Polaroid Project, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Texas, USA 2017

Galleri Arnstedt, Östra Karup, Sweden 2017

The Primal Shelter is The Site For Primal Fears, The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2016

Edstrandska Foundation’s Grant Exhibition, KHM Gallery, Malmö, Sweden 2016

Flyktpunkt, CFF, Stockholm, Sweden 2016

Screens and Mirrors, Borås Art Museum, Sweden 2016

La Camera, On the Materialilty of Photography, Bologna, Italy 2016

Unseen Photo Fair, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2015

Breadfield Gallery, Malmö, Sweden 2015

AIPAD Photo Fair, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, New York, US 2015

FORMAT International Photography Festival, Derby, UK 2015

Process as portrait (duo with Gisa Pantel), H. Bergdal Gallery, Malmö, Sweden 2014

Vårsalongen, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden 2014

Konstforum 50 år, Konstforum, Norrköping, Sweden 2014

New Nordic Photography, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden 2014

Corso Aperto, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy 2014

New Students Exhibition, Galleri KHM, Malmö Art Academy, Sweden 2014

Maskinen Art Boat, Galleri Maskinen, Umeå/Vasa, Sweden/Finland 2014

Vi tager intet ansvar 3, Udstillingsstedet Q, Copenhagen, Denmark 2014

SET RISE Bachelor of Fine Arts 2013, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Sweden 2013

Tacita Dean Workshop Exhibition, Villa Iris, Santander, Spain 2013

ISSP 2013 Exhibition, Elina Brotherus Class, Kuldīga, Latvia 2013

Spring Exhibition, Umeå Konsthögskola, Sweden 2012

Dalakonst 11, Rättviks Kulturhus, Sweden 2011

You have to dance like nobody’s watching, Galleri La Pis, Gothenburg, Sweden 2010

Polaroids, Lettlands fotomuseum, Riga, Latvia 2008


Space is the Place, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2019

OSMOSCOSMOS, Centre de la Photographie Genève, 2019

C/O Berlin Magazine, essay by Caroline von Courten, 2018

Camera Austria “Forum”, September Issue, 2018

BE Magazine 25, essay by Jens Asthoff, 2018

Monopol Magazine , “Watchlist”, May Issue, 2018

The Polaroid Project: Art & Technology, Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Thames&Hudson, 2017

Capture Photography Festival 2017 (Editorial essay), 2017

Malmö Art Academy Year Book 2016 with MFA thesis Objects in the Rear-View Mirror, 2016

Screens and Mirrors, 2016

LA Camera:Sulla materialità della fotografia/On the materiality of photography, Italy 2016

Lucida Journal, Queensland Centre for Photography, Australia 2015

Catalogue FIVE, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Germany 2015

Unseen Photo Fair (cat.) The Netherlands 2015

Landskrona Fotofestival (cat.) Sweden 2015

Sight. So Close. fotogalleriet [format] & Breadfield, Malmö, Sweden 2015

Archive of Visions and Actions: Contemporary Art from Sweden, Imago Mundi 2015

Eyelid Reports, Fondazione Antonio Ratti / Mousse Publishing 2014

Kite Aerial Photography, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts 2014

New Nordic Photography, Hasselblad Foundation 2014

Vårsalongen, Liljevalchs 2014

SET RISE Bachelor of Fine Arts, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts 2013


IASPIS, Stockholm, 2020

The Swedish Art Council’s International Exchange Grant, 2019

Helge Ax:son Johnson Grant, 2019

Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, 2018

PLAT(T)FORM Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2017

Anna Kockum Grant, Malmö Art Museum, 2016

EIB Artists’ Development Programme mentored by Darren Almond, European

Investment Bank, Luxembourg, 2016

One-year working Grant, Swedish Art council 2016

Helge Ax:son Johnson Grant 2015

The Portfolio Review Award, Landskrona Fotofestival 2014

Swedish Arts Council’s International Grant 2014

Ester Lindahls Travel Grant 2014

XX CSAV Artist Research Laboratory. Tacita Dean – Comoggardising – The benefit of creative indolence, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy 2014

Taller Tacita Dean, Fundación Botín, Santander, Spain 2013

The Baltic donation’s International Grant, Umeå Universitet 2012

The Baltic donation’s International Grant, Umeå Universitet 2011

Ragnar och Birgit Åhléns Grant 2011


Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden

Mannheimer-Swartling Collection, Sweden

Private collections in Sweden and USA