An invitation to look deeply into everyday mystery
Markus Åkesson has been fascinated by patterns ever since he was a child. Growing up in the 1970s, he’d rest his eyes on the motive-rich home decorations of furniture, wallpaper, textured materials and prints, as he wondered what was behind them. Where did these patterns come from? And what is their meaning? What stories do they tell us and what quality do these motives bring to our lives?
As time went by, more and more patterns and themes caught his eye, from the Dans Macabre originating from the Middle Ages after the plague to the diamond shaped and dotted lines on Chesterfield couches. For his oil paintings Åkesson also creates his own patterns on textiles and wraps his models in them.
"I want to tell the stories hidden in the pattern, just like the faces are hidden in the fabrics. The key to understanding the mystery is hidden in the pattern. It is open to interpretation. I work from intuition and the painting originates from my own questions and search for answers. There is a mystery there."
Chesterfield Dreams, 2021.
Markus Åkesson’s work started with oil paintings, but has extended into a richness of media, such as bronze, clay, textiles and glass. Each material brings its own qualities, but it is more than that, Markus is interested in the difference between painting and sculpture. "A painting is like a window into another world. A visualization and a representation. A sculpture on the other hand, is an object in the room. It is like a magic object from a different world and you can touch it, turn it around and look at it from different perspectives".
At Galerie Da-End in Paris, Markus’ work is part of the exhibition called ‘Asile in Wonderland’ that carries the theme of childhood imagination as an asylum and refuge. His work exhibited at the exhibition consists of a painting of a woman in green on a Chesterfield sofa and two accompanying glass sculptures.
"In my personal iconography and symbol world, the pattern on the Chesterfield couch is a catalyst for looking into and entering another world. As you see the gaze in the eyes of the woman, you see that her eyes are open, but she is looking inwards. She’s mentally somewhere else. The pattern on the wall, holds a key on where to look."
The glass sculptures accompanying the painting are an attempt to distill the motive into a simpler object, as well as to try and capture the essence of the Chesterfield couch. Markus Åkesson takes the pattern out of the pattern and shows its essential form in a three-dimensional way for us to touch and explore.
Chesterfield Dreams glass sculpture, 2021.
Markus Åkesson´s work at the glassworks of Kosta Boda started in 2021. Working on a great variety of sculptures and original work, he collaborates with a team of artists and craftsmen in both the hot and cold workshops in Kosta.
"What makes glass such an interesting material, is that it is translucent and very fast. Compared to working in bronze and with oil painting, you need to make decisions quickly and work together. I love to work with others and the communication it requires. Many intuitive things happen all the time. That speed and communication bring an energy I really like. When the glass cools, a slower, but equally interesting process begins. The piece is then brought into the cold workshops of the factory where it can be cut and even painted. Many who work at the glassworks are also artists and I feel we speak the same language, so it is easy to understand each other."
Looking at Markus Åkesson’s work, one could see it as an invitation to look deeper. To search for what is behind the picture and painting, but also for what is behind the objects in our daily lives. Looking at my bedroom ceiling in my two-hundred-year-old Swedish house, I see the textures, knots and lines in the antique wooden beams. And I feel like a child again, looking at the world with wonder and curiosity, while I rest into my imagination as in a warm blanket that keeps me safe and protected.
Galerie Da-End, Paris: January 15 – February 26, 2022
Part of the exhibition: ‘Asile in Wonderland’.
Kosta Art Gallery: May 2022 – October 2022
This spring Markus Åkesson will be part of a major exhibition in the Bruno Mathsson Hall at Kosta Art Gallery in Kosta, Sweden, together with Ellen Ehk Åkesson and Johan Röing.
Market Art Fair, Liljevalchs, Stockholm: April 29 - June 1, 2022
Exhibiting with Berg Gallery, Stockholm
KASTEEL D’URSEL, Belgium: May 26 - Oct 9, 2022
Part of the exhibition "Print and Paint"
Nero Gallery, Rome, June - July 2022
Part of the exhibition ”Visages”
Markus Åkesson’s first glass sculptures with Kosta Boda were presented at Vida Museum on Öland, Sweden in the summer of 2021.
Written by Stephanie Verstift, Kosta Boda 2022