JOHANNES POPP selected works

bike lane 10 (2020)
50×62 cm, acrylic on UHPC

left: Fragment C (2021)
76×56 cm, acrylic on UHPC, mirror

center:Fragment D (2021)
122×74 cm, acrylic on UHPC

bottom: Flipper (2021)
85×43 cm, acrylic on UHPC

left: Sequenz 006 (2021)
202×137cm, acrylic on UHPC

right: Sequenz 008 (2021)
204×139cm, acrylic on UHPC, aluminium frame

endurance test 1 (2020)
41×50 cm, acrylic on UHPC

untitled (2019)
97×123×151 cm, acrylic on UHPC, lift truck

Photographer ©Sylvan Dahlgrün
Johannes Popp uses ultra-high-performance concrete for his paintings. Popp applies thin layers of liquid UHPC concrete to a stretcher frame covered with a close-meshed net. In contrast to traditional painting methods, this process of using UHPC provides the artist only 20 minutes time to leave impressions on the canvas surface, as opposed to "normal" paint which can be applied over longer periods of time. For the most part Popp works on several paintings at once.

The second step in Popp’s work process is to cover the hardened concrete with up to 60 layers of automotive paint.

In this way Popp manages to carry two levels of information into his works: the impressed and the sprayed. This close interlocking of the two levels means that in Popp's artwork the formerly strict division into painting vs. sculpture cannot be maintained.

Johannes Popp does not work with analoge sketches; he only uses his smartphone as a notepad in which he initially records ideas and reflections digitally, then physically shapes them, and gives back the appearance of the digital: a dizzying ride through the mediums. This artistic process gives his works an almost "super-real" appearance. Whether they are digitally animated, or physical objects in space, it's impossible to tell for sure at first glance.

He raises the question of what reality is with a directness that both baffles and frightens. He blurs the boundaries between these two spheres and manages to translate this classic question of 20th century art to the present day through its digital aesthetics.

Tuning cars is a real place for Popp to question objects about their deceptive character. Appearance plays a major role in tuning a car: it's just an Opel Corsa, yet it looks like a sports car.

Making skillful use of deception and appearances is an integral part of any tuning, as it is with Johannes Popp: he manages to tune reality.

His first solo exhibition "TUNING REALITIES" will be on display in Berlin on September 10th, 2021.  

Original quotes Johannes Popp:

time, work process: „Painting is different to working with concrete. Whilst concrete only allows to work 20-30 mins, the paint work can take up to months.  I usually work on several paintings at the same time, which means different works are included in each other, they are connected.”

painting vs. sculpture: „To me the distinction between painting and sculpture is obsolete. Definitions of genres are increasingly fluid, their borders have dissolved, consequently assigning materials to a discipline is outdated. Describing my works as "sculptural - paintings" supports the objective understanding, but for I undoubtedly assign them to a form of modern painting - not sculpture.“

analoge sketches: "I don’t do drafts or sketches, I only prefer using my phone for keeping hold of my thoughts saving them digitally is another step of abstraction to put them in the analogue world afterwards. To me smartphones are best at capturing the feelings and forms which arise from my thoughts. Paper is simply not the right medium for me. I collide with the resistance of the material.“

reality: „I would say my works are something "super-real", a counterpoint or complement to reality.”

Tuning: „In the tuning scene I find it exciting the whiteness moments of dysfunctionality. As an example: you can put high-end hyper shift paint on a car to refract the light differently from different angles. This looks cool, but after 6 weeks it's gone and the protective function, which paint normally constitutes of can no longer be fulfilled. The original purpose of the paint is completely forgotten –for the sole purpose of its appearance. In any case, it's the absurd relationship of these moments and their dysfunctionality which allure and affect me the most.”

2018 NEW HEROES, Povvera Gallery Berlin (group exhibition)

2019 30under30, Städtische Galerie Braunschweig (group exhibition)

2020 U55, Berlin Hauptbahnhof (group exhibition)

2021 Tuning Realitites, benzinLAB Berlin (solo exhibition)

Born 1995, in Brandenburg, Germany. Lives and works in Berlin.

2016 – 2018 Academy of Fine Arts Braunschweig

2018 – 2019 Bauhaus University Weimar 

2019 ongoing Art Academy Berlin Weißensee