Markus Åkesson

Markus Åkesson Interview-Artefact

Read the interview in French on the original site.

After having admired the painting of Markus Akesson “the Lily” during the elaboration of its third curiosity cabinet, the Da-End Gallery invites us to discover a series of new works of this Swedish painter and sculptor, for his first personal exhibition in France from September 21st till November 2nd, taking place : 17 rue Guénégaud, 75006 PARIS.

As usual, this residence-gallery immerges us in an unusual and muffled atmosphere. Surrounded by darkness, the works seam to irradiate, leading us to a nocturnal walk in the heart of a Nordic forest.

Born in 1975, Markus Åkesson creates figurative paintings with a burdensome and poetic atmosphere. The artwork entitled Black Pond represents the starting point of the phantasmagorical journey to which Åkesson invites us; a journey through the dense Scandinavian forests where the fauna and the flora stand alongside the humans’ realm. The dusky-colored aquatic and vegetal elements, the muddy peat lands and the small ponds deep in the woods, form a hymn to Nature and to Nordic legends.

At nighfall, the boundaries between dreams and reality shade off. It is this indis- tinct interval that Markus Åkesson likes to explore. Slowly, he takes us to the hereafter, in a metaphorical and psychical movement of catabasis. Through his paintings, Åkesson revisits the Orphic theme of the descent to the Underworld. Serving as a membrane, the water surfaces he depicts symbolize the passage between worlds. By crossing the limits of the living world, the protagonists in his artworks defy their fears and the darkness. This initiatory trip appears to be an actual rite of passage, scattered with physical hard- ship and spiritual questioning.

The mystery atmosphere that prevails is accentuated by the luminous and intense palette of the painter. Filled with symbols, the cinematic scenes imagined by Markus Åkesson implicitly reveal a complex psychoanalytical content. By picturing children in troubling situations, Åkesson emphasizes in fact the depth of the spirit’s uproar. The introspective quality of this body of work seems to borrow from the literary genre of the coming-of-age Roman, even more than from Scandinavian folklore.

Lastly, several glass works, evoking the terrestrial and underwater fauna as well, will be exhibited. Hailing from the province of Småland, incidentally known as the King- dom of Crystal, Markus Åkesson retains a particular appeal for this material, with which he creates totemic sculptures with organic shapes. “My decorated objects relate to the ‘cult-objects’ that in past times offered mankind a channel to a fictional world for those moments when reality seems static and pointless,” he explains.

The Woods (Escape from Kopetania), oil on canvas, 38x46cm

The Woods, 100×150 cm


– How could you describe the ambiguity and the aesthetic appearance of your Works of art ?

– I think the ambiguity is important for a work. It pushes the audience to fill in the gaps and makes the experience stronger. Art is always to some extent a dialogue with the audience. For me personally, I like to keep matters in my work for which I do not know the answers to, it somehow gives to the work an ability to live its own life.

– Would you say your Works is driven mainly by anguish or hope ?

– Neither. I like to see the works as rather dry presentations of situations or scenes. But the spectator, of course, might see other things, because you always put your own experiences and expectations in what you see. I try not to overemphasize that kind of expressions.

– Do you want to express a new figurative vision in your art ?

– Not really. I try not to think too much about painting techniques, I like to think of the story as the essence in the work and I don´t want to be distracted from that. I am interested in techniques and like, of course, conversations about them, but more in a nerdy kind of way.

– What materials, forms and technical do you use ?

– First of all, oil paintings, but from time to time, it´s nice to work with sculptures. The reason why I work with glass as a material, is because I actually started out as a glass engraver when I was in my twenties, before I was an artist. So I am familiar with the material, it´s like an old friend.

– In your solo exhibition at Da end gallery in Paris, what is your way of your pieces selection ?

– Actually, most of the work are made for this exhibition. I started to paint for this event last spring. With a few exceptions, I like to work in this manner. I like the see the whole exhibition as one body of work, a series of paintings that put together tell a story. The sculptures, though, are selected to fit in with the paintings.

– As a painting artist, how do you choose the range of colors to use ?

– It´s a process over time that led me to certain colors ranges. When I first began to paint, I used a completely different palette. But the use of color is a lifelong investigation, you can never learn everything about it.

–You have grown up and you live in a land where you have been initiated to the art of glass-blowers.The re-appropriation of this know-how in your sculpture appears both organic and vegetal. Apart from the technic mastering and the amazing beauty emanating from this render, what is the link between your two favorite mediums ?

– First of all, I must state that I don´t blow the objects myself. I work with a highly skilled glassblower, Micke Johansson, who has his studio near mine. We have collaboration for which he makes the objects after my sketches. But I do the engraving myself. There are really no obvious links between painting and glass and that’s the reason why I like to work with glass objects from time to time, because it´s so different. But of course, there is a strong link in the theme of my work.

– How do you consider nature in your own life ? It standing though all your painting, and more with sculpture.

– Nature can give you a strong perspective on life, time and your own unimportance in the world. It is my belief that the spiritual experience of nature really fills a need for people in a secular society.

– You take your children and friends of them as models, is it mainly representation or are you noticed their way of behaviorand games too ?

– They are mainly actors, but sometimes I have been inspired by the children way to create alternative realities and hierarchies. But the paintings are not portraits in the meaning that they reflect a certain models personality.

– What kind of inspiration push you to work this way on a particular theme?

– I think it´s slow process over time to find what is interesting. I start to work with something that leads me into something else and so on. But it´s important not to have all the answers, that is a part of what makes it so interesting, that I can find something in the working process that I wasn’t aware of.

– Define what art is for YOU. What does it represent, how does it echo in yourself? Why do you feel the need of practicing it?

– I guess I define art as something that invites you to another world. I chase this experience when I am working and I do find it from time to time. Like drugs, but healthy.

– How will you make evolve your art in the future ?

– I am not sure, and that´s part of what makes it interesting for me to continue working. Otherwise, it would be much less exciting.


Markus Âkesson website:
Galerie Da-End
17 rue Guénégaud | 75006 Paris +33 (0) |
Tuesday through Saturday, 2 pm – 7 pm and by appointment / du mardi au samedi de 14 H à 19 Het sur rendez vous.