The consistent theme of my entire artistic practice since 2005 is relations of power as played out between humans and other agents such as animals, landscapes, machines, and networks.
I often perform extensive research on records in national collections and digital archives, investigating forgotten and/or overlooked histories such as whaling in the 1920s, and the 1971 Attica prison riot (a historical event in the prisoners’ rights movement in the United States).
This archival research practice transforms into time-based works, including videos and installations.
Persistent methodologies include re-montage of lost or refound films, re-telling of ancient fables and rituals, and restaging of archival documents.
Because of this, the “re-” of remembering and recirculating is a central focus of my work.
My (re-)works recently turned to contemporary social, political, and cultural issues pertaining to training data sets in machine learning (construction of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions or decisions on data). Consequently, I made collages which I turn into large-scale tapestries with a computer-controlled Jacquard Loom. In my tapestry works, which often pertain to the history of art and the politics of representation, the textures, colors, and figures represented are the main artistic concerns.

Marc Johnson


Marc Johnson (1986) is a French-Beninese award-winning visual artist and filmmaker whose work has been shown extensively around the world.

Important individual exhibitions include The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti-Shrem Museum of Art (2017), UC Davis, United States (in collaboration with the Kramlich collection); La Maréchalerie, Contemporary Art Center (2016), Versailles, France, and The Zentrum fur Medienkunst, (Werkleitz Gesellschaft e.V.), Halle, Germany.

Marc Johnson participated in Manifesta 13 (2020), the Sundance Film Festival (2016, 2018), the Biennale of Moscow for Young Art (2017, 2018), The Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale Shorts (2015), the Yvonne Rainer Project at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (2014), Ligne of Chance at Fondation Ricard in France (2009), and more than 50 International Film Festival worldwide.

Major group exhibitions include “OLHO“, Museo de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; “constellation•s, new ways of living in the world”, arc en rêve centre d’architecture, Bordeaux, France; “trans(?)duction“, CNEAI= Centre National Edition Art Image, Chatou, France and “ATM tempo I/II/III”, Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum, Tokyo, Japan.

He received the LVMH Young Artist Award in 2009, was awarded the Best Short Film Award from the Las Palmas International Film Festival de Gran Canaria in 2016, the Cornish Family Prize for Art & Design Publishing from the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 2017 and the Best Short Film Award from the 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival in 2018 and receive the i-Portunus, European Commission’s mobility scheme for artists in 2019.


2019 i-Portunus – mobility grant for artists – Creative Europe, Germany.
2019 Screenwriting grant, Région Ile-de France, France.
2019 Vancouver Biennale – residency grant, Canada.
2018 Best Experimental Short, 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, United States.
2018 Aide individuelle à la Création – DRAC d’Ile-de-France, France.
2017 Cornish Family Prize for Art & Design Publishing, National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.
2017 Rooftop Film – 2017 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Short Film Grant, United States.
2016 CNC-DICRéAM – production grant (“Ultraviolet” short film), France/Thailand
2016 Best Short Film Award, International Film Festival de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
2016 CNC-DICRéAM – production grant (Fieldwork in Moray, Peru), France/Peru.
2015 Third Prize, experimental, Athens International Film + Video Festival 2015 (AIFVF), United States.
2009 Jean-François & Marie-Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre Foundation Award, France.
2009 Maurice Colin-Lefrancq scholarship (Hunter College), France/United States.
2009 LVMH Young Artist Award / Prix LVMH des Jeunes Créateurs, France.


Marc Johnson encompasses a vision of enormous ingenuity, scope and scale. Marc Johnson’s work is expansive in that it collapses time and space by tapping both ancient knowledge and ritual in concert with current computer technologies. […] he demonstrates enormous cultural fluency identifying people and sites globally from Chongqing, China to Moray, Peru, as he attempts to locate old and new life-affirming patterns. His process is equally expansive, as he prefers to collaborate with experts across disciplines from the biological sciences to archaeology and ethnography, searching for new avenues to express life’s most profound secrets. Inherent in this work is a spiritual quest for deep connectivity with complex ideas as well as a desire to reach diverse global audiences.” Excerpt from “YúYú” exhibition booklet, Ed. Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, 2017.

Betti-Sue Hertz, Director and Chief Curator at Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University


Publication as Author

Marc Johnson, “fecund lacuna: art, archaeology, genetics,” Arles: Analogues & La Maréchalerie, 2016.


Marc Johnson, “Posthumanism: present and future paths towards equality of all species on earth and beyond?“ In Afrikadaa, no. 12, l’Entre Deux Monde. l’Art Comme Arme de Guérison, (May 2019): 117-120.

Afrikadaa 12 l'entre deux monde

Marc Johnson, “Bang Bang! To Darkness, Charlotte and other songs, the body at risk, Steve McQueen at Schaulager.” In Afrikadaa, no. 6, E-motional, (Oct, Nov, Dec, 2013): 114-121.

AFRIKADAA no6 E-motional coverAfrikadaa no6 E-motional, Steve McQueen at Schaulager by Marc JohnsonAfrikadaa no6 E-motional, Steve McQueen at Schaulager by Marc JohnsonAfrikadaa no6 E-motional, Steve McQueen at Schaulager by Marc Johnson
Afrikadaa no6 E-motional, Steve McQueen at Schaulager by Marc Johnson

Print Media

Mike Plante, Sundance Film Festival 2018: The story lives in you, The Sundance Institute, 2018, 218-220.

2016 Sundance Film Festival Official Catalog Film Guide

Lucrezia Calabrò, 6th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art: Abracadabra!, NCCA Moscow, 2018.

6-Moscow-Biennale-2018-Johnson-Marc-ABRACADABRA-catalogue-cover6-Moscow-Biennale-2018-Johnson-Marc-ABRACADABRA-catalogueUltraviolet short film still - 6 Moscow Biennale 2018 Johnson Marc ABRACADABRA catalogue extract

Reiko Setsuda, “ATM tempo I/II/III: Emmanuel Saulnier”, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017.

Betti-Sue Hertz, “YuYu”, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, 2017.

Megan Patty, “fecund lacuna/ lacune féconde,” In National Gallery of Victoria Magazine 4 (May/June 2017): 84.


Mike Plante, Sundance Film Festival 2016, Official Catalog, Film Guide, The Sundance Institute, 2016.

2016 Sundance Film Festival Official Catalog Film Guide

Maike Mia Höhne, 65 Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (Berlinale), Verlag Berlin, 2015.