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B. 1974, Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Hobart, Australia.
Anthony Johnson’s art practice is known for its breadth of engagement with different media, utilising photography, performance, video, and especially a wide array of sculptural objects to interrogate the relationship between materiality and context. He employs this diversity of visual languages, with a distinctly antagonistic inflection seeking to challenge conventional notions of what sculpture might be. Downgrade (2005-07), a time-based sculptural installation shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, engaged the museum in an entropic process to routinely generate timber mulch by shredding new and generic furniture to fill a found empty beanbag. More recently, and operating on a similar plane, is Johnson’s work Untitled (2009) and Two rights make a wrong (2011), both site-responsive installations that subtly disrupt the internal architecture and facade of the gallery space through a process of spatial intervention and displacement.
Johnson frequently positions his own body or its traces in the work to implicate himself in often humiliating, yet sincere, attempts to reconcile seemingly immeasurable predicaments. Moments of brevity inform his work and he seeks to activate a complex and often humorous engagement with the everyday; whether it be through reverse parking in a tight space whilst needing to urinate, or sharing a flight with a fly (A fly in a plane, 2010). It is the potential (im)potency of objects and vacuousness of situations, in tandem with the inverse possibilities of profundity and mundanity of everyday action, that could be seen to drive his practice.