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Joakim Sandqvist

Beckers Art Award has proven to have a remarkable ability to identify a young talent on the brink of a breakthrough in their careers.

Beckers Art Award was founded in 1987 by Ulf and Viviann Lindén. The scholarship aims to support pioneering creative voices in Sweden. For more than 30 years Beckers has singled out innovative talents like Jockum Nordström, Dan Wolgers, Nathalie Djurberg och Julia Bondesson.

The award includes a solo exhibitions that has, since 2001, been arranged and held in collaboration with Färgfabriken in Stockholm and KKAM in Höganäs, as well as a prize sum of SEK 200,000.

Jury’s statement

Joakim Sandqvist unfolds the paper he has carried in his jeans pocket for a few weeks, and the image captures time and place in an unexpected manner. The combination of chance and the artist’s deliberate choices creates both an image and a commentary on the artistic processes, opening up aesthetics, and inviting the world in. By nudging chance along, the artist creates a set of game matrices that generate expressions in a variety of directions.

The interpretation and understanding of maps presuppose that we agree on a set of symbols. In a sense, the map reinvents the world. In this, we can find a metaphor for artistic creation—a journey into unknown landscapes. Sandqvist uses satellite images of American cotton fields. Digital information is fed into the loom, which then weaves a new image of the landscape. The artist combines these images, providing us with yet another version—a narrative that maps the world anew.

Sandqvist depicts how jeans are processed, how bricks are shaped, and how surfaces around us are produced to evoke specific associations. The jeans should be distressed in precisely the right places, the brick should have the correct colour and size, and the clay should come from the right source. He illustrates how the conception of specific conditions takes over, and the original components or authenticity of the content fade into insignificance. Reality becomes a theatre, and materials for new artworks are fixed in the interstices.

Joakim Sandqvist is awarded the Beckers Art Award in 2024, amounting to SEK 200,000, for his artwork that intelligently bears witness to the complexity of meaning-making shifts—from the jeans pocket to outer space and back again. In his practice, he highlights the fragility in translations between different symbols and techniques, turning the artistic process into both a part of the expression and a commentary on the meaningful aspects of the world. His works carry intricate stories and poetry in the transition between the old and the new—the new and the old.

About the artist

Joakim Sandqvist (b. 1988, in Huskvarna) works in a wide range between the abstract and the concrete. His artistic process often begins in a discovery of something tangible and close at hand, something so common that its meanings are hidden in ordinariness. With thorough research and a strict approach to the work’s dependence on its medium and material components, he creates a restrained poetry that revolves around the interaction between technology and ideology. Sandqvist lives and works in Malmö and has studied at Malmö Art Academy, Slade School of Fine Art and Maumaus Independent Study Program. Sandqvist has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Galleri Ping-Pong, Malmö and Obra, Lund. He has also participated in group shows at Malmö Konsthall and Malmö Konstmuseum.