#JohannaDumet / BERLIN : The Message
Johanna Dumet is French painter, based in Berlin (Germany). Born in 1991 in Guéret, she moved to Marseille in 2009 and studied Fashion Design. After her graduation she left France to Barcelona and then Berlin in 2012. This is when she started her carrier as a painter. Johanna embraces an open approach to color and material within her work, she uses oil paint on canvas and includes large painted sheets of paper to create a work "honest, frank and free"- something she attributes to her childhood enjoyment of painting that she still has to this day. The canvas is her playground, this is where she can entirely express herself.
Solo exhibitions of her works have recently been held at Kewenig for there monthly Room (Berlin 2020) Fichtezwei (Berlin 2019), at the Gamle Redningshus (Anholt 2019) and Ill Galleries (Berlin 2016). Her Atelier is based in the historic building the Villa Heike - Berlin Hohenschönhausen that she shares with her partner the artist Manuel Wroblewski.
Hi Johanna, How is it going in Berlin ? How the lockdown is there ?
I’m feeling super great ! (Johanna is like a super positive person I swear). The lockdown in Berlin is pretty chill and not as tied than in France. It’s pretty good, I’m spending most of my time into my atelier at Villa Heike and I’m in a good productive and creative period so everything is going pretty well !
You’re the first girl that come from “La Creuse” and currently living in Berlin, Can you maybe talk about La Creuse and your childhood ?
First of all “Big Up to la Creuse, Salut Maman, salut Papa ! It’s in the middle of the country (France) close to Limoges, I come from a house without any neighborhoods, a bunch of fields, forests and lots of cows ! I think it's great, you grow up as a free kid, you do what you want, that's a true chance, no ?
Yes that’s super cool because you have a free space that you can’t have in Paris ! The fact that you grew up surrounded by fields and cows had an influence on your work as an artist ?
Oh yeah for sure! Since I was 5 years old, I was saying to my mom that I wanted to be a painter ! When you’re in front of your canvas, you’re feeling super free and you can do whatever you want and I had the same feeling as a child. You can’t never really say what you want, or dress as you want in society or with people, but when I’m in front of my canvas I'm feeling truly free.
Now, I wish I was born in "La Creuse"... Can you maybe talk about your story from there to Berlin?
First of all I’m so sorry for the listeners, but 2 french are speaking english together (The interview has been recorded during the live radio show w/ Regnosis ndlr) and we are sorry for that! More seriously, I live in Berlin since 8 years, before that I was living in Marseille, I've first studied fashion design. I've never really wanted to become a fashion designer but working with materials and colors was a more interesting way of expressing myself back in the day. After that, I moved to Barcelona and then Berlin and I started to paint here so 10 years from now! Now I’m really a painter and it’s going great, the 5 years old Johanna version would be very proud I guess!
“Bisous aux parents de Johanna!" You can be proud of her and it’s must be great to see your daughter well-rounded and happy in her life!
I wish this for everybody ! If you’re a child, a student, an adult or whatever and you have a dream, just do it ! We only have one life, right ? So why not having fun ?
Super great for us to hear this kind of words, I think that we need it, we are like lockdown in small house now and we can maybe feel some dropping-mood period and we need this hope! I mean you have to trust in yourself like Johanna did, it’s easy to say of course but it’s also important to realize and to not forget !
Can you maybe talk about your work, it’s super colorful no ?
Yes it’s extremely colorful, I’m basically working with more colors than shape ! I work mostly with oil on canvas and most of the time I’m painting huge canvas with different colors and with the colors that I see I start to really build shapes.
That can be figurative, nature morte, portrait, lots of tables with wine, coffee, things that I love, things that I see, things that I dream of.
Wow ! So you’re like painting with your dreams ?
Yeah if I want to paint a table, I’m asking to myself, “What do I want for dinner?” and I'm improvising with my subconscious and my desires haha !
You seems super free in your way of making arts, or being a woman. It’s great to see so positive and free mind compare to some artist that follow a fashion or limited themselves to a certain border!
How your studio and working space is looking like ?
I’m in Lichtenberg where I’m working with my boyfriend Manuel Wroblewski, who is a sculptor and I’m basically working 7 days a week. For all the artists that are listening, the key is to keep on working ! Even if you don’t have a gallery or you don’t sell art, just keep on working hard and it will come one day.
Since the coronavirus period, I am almost working even harder than before, even if my exhibition had been cancelled or postponed and I’m still doing online exhibition (Regnosis ndlr) and I’m working again and again !
That’s such a great message that you are sending to us Johanna !
What do you think about the initiative behind Regnosis ?
I think that making a show with so many peoples from so many countries will never happen again so when Lefki sent me a message I immediately said yes. It was a "one time chance" for me and it was also the opportunity to get to know other artists and also to other people to see my work, it’s a win-win situation ! We need to stay united and to collaborate now I think.
How do you see the future as an artist ?
I think that art was always there since the prehistoric time and it will always be there. People need arts, books, music, look at photos or whatever, art is just something that we need. You know for an artist, at least for me, I can, during the lockdown, go to my atelier and work so for the moment I'm trying to stay focus on the present!
It’s super great to hear from people who put faith into what they are doing, if you have a message for our generation which one it would be ?
Just get out of your fucking smartphone! I think that everybody should go back to read a book, to draw something or to make a cake and going back to the "concrete" and not the virtual that doesn’t bring you anywhere! We need real connection with real people, I just tried to get out of this.
It’s also good for people to learn to be good with themselves and not to constantly talk with your friends virtually and, by the way, this is the perfect time to do what you always wanted to do ! So forget your smartphone for 5 minutes, and realize your dream or find a new one !
Great talks ! So when I will come back to Berlin, I will knock on your door without any phone call before and we can go to a park with real people ?
Let’s drink a Ricard ! I've even painted a Ricard bottle on one of my painting !
I want to buy it for sure ! Thanks Johanna for all this advices, but for this kind of meeting, Internet can be awesome no ?
Yes you're right it's always a question about how you want to use it, but when we can create a "real" connection like this, it's priceless!
So next time, we will meet at Berghain wearing some leathers jackets and shackles right ?
Hahaha, Sounds good to me ! Thanks you Cesar for the interview we had a good time !
Fair enough ! You were awesome, thank you for your time Johanna !
(saying goodbye with a lot of french manners like blablartdevivreblabaguetteblacliché etc....)
Now that you know how to love her, support her !