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Sarah Anne Johnson

Untitled (Schooner and Fireworks)
From the series "Arctic Wonderland"

Artist

Sarah Anne Johnson
Born in Winnipeg in 1976

Title

Untitled (Schooner and Fireworks)
From the series "Arctic Wonderland"

Date

2012

Materials

Expanded polyurethane foam, plastics, LED lights, stove paint, acrylic paint, wood, balsa, cotton canvas and string, silicone resin

Dimensions

635 cm (approx. diam.)

Credits

Gift of the Cirque du Soleil, inv. 2016.449

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

The series “Arctic Wonderland” arose from an artist’s residency on a ship in the Arctic in 2009. Johnson was invited by the organisation The Arctic Circle (USA) for a 21-day visit with other artists, and also with activists and scientists. The artists’ goal was to create works from their experience on the ship, and Johnson took a large number of pictures.


During the voyage, the participants, like Johnson, were in a constant state of amazement, struck by both the magnificence and fragility of nature. However, on her return, Johnson could not detect any traces of this emotion in her photographs. From this observation, that is, that the images she had did not reflect her experience, she decided to rework them by heightening them with coloured inks and gouache. The added pigments take the form of confetti, of fireworks, of geometrical shapes appearing over the ocean. They translate her experience and poetically evoke the pollution linked to over-consumption.


Within this series, the photograph Party Boat was Johnson’s favourite work. It was a photograph of a schooner (The Noorderlicht) with fireworks created with coloured inks above it. The artist liked the composition, the effects and the symbolism. To her eye, it represented the current environment in the face of our civilization’s reckless race towards its own destruction. Johnson planned to turn Party Boat into a monumental work to recreate her experience.

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