No Man's Land
Shadow Valley

Artist Statement


Dreams reveal desires and fears that we're not consciously aware of, but play an important part in consciously or subconsciously helping us to become better at dealing with life.

My methodology for creating images starts with writing down the events of the dream as soon as I've woken up. Sometimes I'll make sketches to help me remember particular visual details of the dream. I use this information to look for subject matter in my environment that has elements matching those of the environment of the dream. I then use digital manipulation to combine different visual elements to create the environments and the atmosphere I experienced in the dream. This is an important part, as it is where I transform my vision into a tangible medium. The meaning of a dream is the most important part, as it forms the backbone of the project. I therefore focus on using dreams that have a lasting effect on me, or is meaningful to me in some way. To me life is an existential journey and dreams can play an important part in learning how to deal with the complexities of living and can help to see things from a different perspective. The materializing of my dreams into images is a process which helps me understand myself and life better.

My aim is to reveal not just the fictional environments of my dreams, but to reveal perhaps a higher purpose or function of dreams. I believe that when we experience obstacles in real life, the subconscious will manifest the problem in your dreams. It could be argued that dreams come from a place in us that has the answers to our problems, but has to be deciphered in order to be understood.



Press Release



Curated by: Juan José Santos

21 September - 3 November 2012
Opening: Friday, 21 at 8:00PM

Next Thursday 21 September, “Underland” a solo exhibition of the gallery artist Johann Ryno de Wet opens at the camara oscura art gallery.

In his "Underland" series, consisting of images in small and large format, with a disturbing clarity the scenarios that Ryno de Wet visits in his dreams appear. A dark deserted world in which the uncontrolled forces of nature have taken over the scene.

These snapshots capture the "after", the post-world, and make us face our greatest fear: the end, the death. A reality that accompanies us every day, consciously or unconsciously. A fear that the artist decides to deal with by undertaking this internal investigation through an exercise of introspection.

"Underland" suggests what is beneath, concealed, hidden. The anguish we voluntarily cover up. Signs of the expiry of the planet that we want to avoid, the threat of a catastrophe, either natural or artificial. The buildings looming above the clouds, the mysterious stuff that rests under a dirty blanket.

Thanks to his mastery of photographic technique, the distribution of elements in the landscape and the compositional balance Ryno de Wet is able to realize his dreams on a two-dimensional frame. We are invited to enter into them and share the feelings he has experienced with his eyes closed. Whether we like it or not, they are shared and common sensations

We look forward to seeing you there and we appreciate the publication of this press release. For further information, please contact Juan Curto on +34 914 291 734, by e-mail at or by visiting our website at


Madrid, 18 July 2012

camara oscura galeria de arte
T./F. +34 91 429 17 34
c/ Alameda, 16, 1º B
ES 28014 Madrid, Spain


"What is it honey?...What"
Take Shelter, Jeff Nichols, 2011
The final scene of the Nichols movie is terrifying. A family deals with the apocalyptic paranoia of the father, who suffers hallucinations where he sees a storm that heralds the end of the world. He even builds an underground shelter, generating social discredit of his close family and friends, including his daughter and his desperate wife. Before you see "The End" on the screen, we witness how the couple's daughter is paralyzed before, this time for real, the arrival of a terrible storm. That is why that scene is so terrifying, because when we think that everything is the product of our imagination, delusions, we are surprised by the realization of our worst fears.
The series of images "Underland" by Johann Ryno de Wet is the refuge that the artist has built underground. It is his way of facing the fear of fulfilling his worst omens. "Underland" is the world beneath the world, the subconscious. In this case, revived in a completely clear and realistic way. In the examples of the past, artists have reflected the images evoked in dreams through painting, drawing or writing. But I know few examples of doing that in photography. Ryno de Wet searches the dreamed landscapes in the world that he inhabits, photographs them and, after digital manipulation, composes them as he recalls. We are not talking about photographic realism, on the contrary, these are unreal images. Disturbing and menacing, but in a contradictory way, calming too.
For Ryno de Wet these images are covered by smoke and ash, and threatened by unseen dangers. The vestiges of civilization are hidden under the clouds, a powerful wind sweeps all that is left, angry waves shout and fight. But the thesis of Ryno de Wet's work does not call for a necessary environmentalism. He does not complain about the over-exploitation of resources. His intention is to reveal what lies beneath that ominous figure hidden under a blanket.
From the metaphysical anguish of De Chirico, through the emotional landscape of Turner, reaching out to the metaphorical heavens of El Bosco, Ryno de Wet condenses all his influences on the inner journey that he invites us to join. To be witnesses of an invented future. A tomorrow in which there is no human reference ... but then there is another puzzle: If there is no sign of being alive ... who made those pictures? The answer becomes a further question: who writes the script of our dreams?
In some of the scenes of his "Underland" series we find that there is a little hope, a light. Lights that ask for help or call us to join them and save ourselves. Where there is light there is life. Perhaps in the future Johann Ryno de Wet will be closer to that light in his work. Or maybe the movie will end like Jeff Nichols' movie. With a quoted "The end".
Juan José Santos