One of the signature aspects of Johanna’s Catalogue of Imaginary Beings is her reinvention of the body’s proportions. Massive, freeform torsos dominate these collages, with miniaturized heads, hands, and feet emerging like tiny appendages: whereas the standard head-to-body ratio taught in figure drawing classes is around 1:8, the head-to-body ratio of most Beings is roughly 1:14. The change in scale monumentalizes and mythologizes the figures even as it creates a somewhat comical effect—or if not comic, perhaps the tiny extremities simply render these powerful bodies a tad less menacing.
The unexpected shift in hierarchy—from the face to the body—creates opportunities for unexpected narratives. “Much like Nick Cave’s Soundsuits, so much can be expressed through the body,” Johanna observes. “Focusing on the figure frees me up to emphasize gesture and adornment and gives me the opportunity to make the body not a body at all, but something else—anything at all.”
Read the entire profile (as well as prior articles) under Design is Play Articles. [MF]