Rasmus Søndergaard Johannsen


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Interested in the symbolic and decorative role of tassels, and their similar functions in notably diverse contexts, Rasmus Søndergaard Johannsen’s fascination is materialising in Wound. He is exhibiting three pairs of tassels on an exaggerated scale: one pair from the military realm, one from the domestic sphere and a third pair from the erotic field. Both the tassels and their connecting ropes are entirely hand-made and hand-wound from thin string or leather. The fabrication of each tassel required several steps and techniques, which the artist meticulously learnt during a two-year research and experimentation process. Perceived as superfluous, tassels seemingly exist to alter something. A tassel is usually embellishing, complementing or giving meaning to another object. They are however, often items of importance, asserting status and dominance, but also empowerment. The ambiguity of the exhibition title reflects the harm that those with power can inflict on others. Authority, status and dominance might easily lead to the misuse of a position of power, ranging from intimate partner abuse to institutional violence and structural inequalities. Wound presents the tassel as the main object, as its role shifts from a defining element to the principal subject. Magnified, it is the abnormally large size in particular, which tears it off the background and mundanity, making it the focal point. Here, the artist is focusing on tassels as individual objects in their own right, while at the same time exploring the common denominators of the military, domestic and erotic realms.