Copenhagen-based artist Johan Deckmann examines the complications of life through clever titles painted on the covers of fictional self-help books that appear to tackle life’s biggest questions, fears, and absurdities. A practicing psychotherapist himself, Deckmann thoroughly recognizes the power of language in therapy and possesses a keen ability to translate his discoveries into witty phrases. “I like the idea of distilling words to compress information, feelings or fantasies into an essence, a truth,” he shares. “The right words can be like good medicine.”
Deckmann often takes his pieces beyond simple language and into the realm of visual puns, such as an LP cover titled “The very best of the voices inside my head” or the juxtaposition of smaller and larger suitcases labeled “Baggage” and “Emotional Baggage.” All of the pieces have the faded color and worn texture of 1970s era self-help guides that were popular at the time.
Deckmann’s books have been exhibited around the world since he began the series in 2015, including a solo show last March at Andenken Gallery in Amsterdam.