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


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

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

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

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (in selection)

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 together with Tiril Hasselknippe, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Sara Wallgren, Markus Bråten, Henrique Pavao and Ana Rebordao, KHM Gallery, Malmö, Sweden 2016

Flyktpunkt, CFF, Stockholm, Sweden 2016
Screens and Mirrors together with Julia Peirone, Katarina Elvén, Lina Selander, Beata Fransson, Anna Linderstam, Stina Östberg and Annika Larsson. Curated by Karolina Pahlén, Borås Art Museum, Sweden 2016

La Camera, On the Materialilty of Photography, together with Dove Allouche, Paul Caffell, Attila Csörgö, Linda Fregni Nagler, Paolo Gioli, Raphael Hefti, Marie Lund, Ives Maes, Justin Matherly, Lisa Oppenheim, Anna Lena Radlmeier, Evariste Richer, Fabio Sandri, Simon Starling, Luca Trevisani and Carlos Vela-Prado. Curated by Simone Menegoi, Palazzo De Toschi, 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

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


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


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

Hasselblad Foundation. Sweden
Mannheimer-Swartling Collection, Sweden
Private collections in Sweden and USA