A trained psychotherapist, Johan Deckmann (previously) has stacks of books to remedy our most painful emotional struggles and existential dread. His collection includes the massive “Your chances of changing the world,” the much slimmer “Your chances of changing yourself,” and the dismally timely “How to take a deep breath and go on even though everything feels so wrong.”
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Often painted on soft, cloth covers evocative of vintage self-help manifestos, Deckmann’s ironic titles are steeped in our culture of incessant improvement and tend to be brutally honest about human limitation. His straightforward messages are not unlike those found in a therapist’s office and harness the power of simple language to confront contemporary dilemmas. “The idea of writing on books comes partly from my work as a psychotherapist, a music composer, and lyricist. I like the idea of distilling words to compress information, feelings, or fantasies into an essence, a truth,” said the Copenhagen-based artist.
Deckmann is participating in a group exhibition up through May 15 at Sala Amós Salvador in La Rioja, Spain, and will be at the Venice Biennale next month with the Gervasuti Foundation. He also has a solo show later this year at San Francisco’s Modernism, and you can find an expansive collection of his poignant messages on Instagram.