Swedish artist Markus Åkesson creates strange female portraits draped in old textiles, sometimes completely masking their faces. At the VIDA Museum in Öland he is showing 14 oil paintings, most with sleep and alertness as a theme. Often there is something absurd or a little scary in his paintings.
Insomnia is the title of the new exhibition by Markus Åkesson. “I can feel incredibly creative when I’ve been awake for a whole night, and all channels are open and you get access to another reality,” Åkesson said.
Rather than conveying a type of richness, the fabric offers a menacing impression of exasperating identity and expression. In a few of the works of art one can observe expressions of agony or sadness in the individual’s faces, while in others, the fabrics fully envelop the people beneath, obscuring their identity and feelings.
“As a child, I often sat and looked at the different patterns in textiles and tapestries,” Åkesson shares. “I would find my own images in them, my own world, and I would dream away. For me, the pattern as a concept has a built in feeling of safety and stability, because it repeats itself over and over again. I think the use of patterns in images that depicts more melancholic or even disturbing scenes makes a interesting feeling of duality.”
Painting has always came naturally to Markus Åkesson, but it was far from obvious that he would pursue it professionally. He grew up in a fairly ordinary working family in Läckeby, outside of Kalmar, Sweden. He eventually began studying art at Öland Folk High School and in 2004 he had his first real exhibition in Kalmar. Since then, it has continued and he has gradually become an artist full time.
Markus Åkesson’s neo-realistic paintings has won him a great renown both at home and internationally, and his works are now included in many prominent collections. Åkesson’s dreamy paintings have attracted great interest in recent years, and the artist has had separate exhibitions in both Stockholm, Paris and Berlin.