Fredrik Åkum
Market Art Fair 2023

Gallery Steinsland Berliner presents a solo exhibition by Fredrik Åkum. Market Art Fair 2023 takes place at Liljevalchs in Stockholm between 12.05-14.05.23.

Fredrik, tell us about your practice.

I imagine myself involved in a constant process arising from existing images, a copying practice of sorts. The copy is something I often find more interesting than its original, it offers up a sense of utopia – the suggestion of something perfect and complete or the ability to long for something you have yet to experience. I work with abstractions that originate from something figurative, I find the medium of painting to be effective in opening up the figurative in order to let the viewer take part in shaping the work, but I try to stay open towards alternative courses and results.

Besides painting I also work with sculpture, artist books, photography and fanzines. You should listen to the work, not yourself. It will be evident in which direction it needs to go. I do not see my work as definitive. Rather they are explorative and part of a bigger picture. I would like them to exist in a kind of limbo between abstraction and figuration, a place where the observer is able to draw their own conclusions.

Coinciding with your presentation at Market Art Fair 2023 is the release of your latest book “Two Suns”, tell us more about your relationship with publishing and how it relates to your practice as a whole.

Self-publishing has interested me since I was a teenager. As someone who likes to be in control, it suits me well to be fully responsible for the result. Whether it be good or bad. Most of all, I view fanzines and books as an alternative to the gallery or museum. They create an opportunity to show the work even after the exhibition has ended and they present the reproduction, the concept I always return to. The images enable the viewer to experience my art as a copy, shaped by their own perception. I myself have many times been more captivated by a printed reproduction found in a book rather than the real experience of a piece of art. Perhaps it has to do with spatiality or the physical context of say, a museum. I’m not saying that the copy is always superior to reality, but I find this to be somewhat true. Photography is for example always better experienced in book form. The works seen at Market have partially sprung from the photographs and drawings included in Two Suns.

The reliefs on view in your presentation seem obviously derived from the paintings. Tell us about how they relate to one another.

They relate to another as one always gives way to the other. Most of the reliefs are based on paintings, sometimes they are even paintings themselves only executed in other materials. But they came to be as a result of me realizing how much I valued the architecture and context of the space wherein which my work was shown. From there I started experimenting with primarily drawing to see what types of more paired down and graphic qualities I could access as opposed to painting. I would like to do more architectural installations, permanent if possible as I’m drawn to public art and how it oftentimes seems to seamlessly fit into its surroundings, like camouflage that you need to pass by a few times before really noticing it.

Fredrik Åkum (b. 1987, SE) lives and works in Gothenburg. He is primarily known for his abstract paintings guided by a self-regulating and immersive practice where the idea of the copy is prominent. By way of a carefully calibrated set of conditions, Åkum diligently copies and draws from his own work to see in which way the repetition leads him. Running parallel to his painting practice is an involved interest in printing and publishing. Found in the intersection of the various arms of Åkum’s practice are consistent and scalable ideas relating to presentation, context and architecture. Fredrik Åkum holds an MFA from Valand Academy. He is the recipient of numerous accolades from the likes of Beckers Art Award and Hasselblad Foundation. Forthcoming exhibitions include presentations at Göteborgs Konsthall and SKAL Contemporary (DK) among others.