Why do we feel we belong to some places and not others? Danish photographer Lise Johansson (1985) questions herself. This reflection is the starting point of her research, based on an analysis of the relationship between humans and the environment they inhabit. Very often our homes represent who we are, they are a reflection of our soul and character. Minimal or baroque, total white or colorful, full of objects or aseptic; in any case, we build environments tailored to us, in which we feel comfortable and which shape our person. But when we go outside the home and find ourselves relating to other environments, such as the workplace, a doctor’s office or our friend’s house, external factors come into play that we cannot control and with which we are forced to interface. Lise Johansson reasons about these unconscious dynamics that govern unconscious psychology.
In the series I’m not here, the photographer makes a series of selfies inside an abandoned hospital. The environment is aseptic and a disturbing desolation in which the white dominates relentlessly. The daylight enters through the windows, sometimes in contrast with the artificial one, accentuating the chromatic power of white, highlighted even more by the milky complexion of the photographer and her long candid dress, typical of hospital patients.
The relationship between the subject and the environment is not relaxed. One perceives a melancholy tension, typical of subjects locked inside a place. The figure almost seems to wander like a spectrum, its face is never visible because of the photographic framing and, in other cases, it is hidden inside or behind an object – like a sink or a mirror. This detail allows the woman to be present in space but at the same time not to inhabit it, as if her mind tried to escape in other directions, looking for a way out. Like the subject, the environment is vulnerable, stationary in limbo and undergoing transformation. The place exists, like the woman, but they are forgotten entities, without status and completely emptied of a soul.