Markus Åkesson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Markus Åkesson (born 10 July 1975)[1] is a Swedish painter and sculptor. He lives and works in Nybro, Sweden with his wife, artist Ellen Ehk,[2] and their children.[3] His studio is in the former Glass Factory at Pukeberg[4] in Nybro, Sweden.

Markus Åkesson
Portrait in painters studio, Markus Åkesson.jpg
Dan Markus Åkesson

10 July 1975

He is represented by Galerie Da-End in Paris[5] where he has had numerous solo exhibitions as well as by VIDA Museum & Konsthall on Öland in Sweden.[6] His works are represented in private and public collections such as The Alice L. Walton Foundation, The Lord James Palumbo Collection, Jacques-Antoine Granjon Collection, and Foundation Francés.[7]

Early life and education[]

Åkesson was born in the small village of Sporsjö outside of Kalmar in South-East Sweden.[8] His father worked as a forester, and his mother, a homemaker. Åkesson was the youngest of four boys and spent many childhood hours sketching the world around him.[9] In an interview with Johanna Sandell from the book, Insomnia, Åkesson says "To anyone who knows my history, it’s not difficult to see connections [to my childhood] in my paintings. I grew up in the countryside, in the forest. I played a lot on my own, I was always out in the forest and I drew a lot".[10]

Not coming from an artistic family, Åkesson’s creativity manifested itself in the ways that came most naturally in his world. In high school, he studied to be a mechanic and spent his free time airbrushing designs on cars and motorcycles. Growing up in the heart of Sweden's "Crystal Kingdom" it was natural for the artistically inclined to gravitate towards work in the glass industry and he took a job as a glass engraver after high school graduation.[11]

Unlike many of his Scandinavian peers, Åkesson has limited formal academic training. He studied briefly at Ölands Folkhögskola, but is otherwise self-taught, taking most of his cues from history, philosophy, and literature.


Åkesson's realistic style of oil painting was not in vogue during his early years as an artist and one of the modern world's most traditional forms of visual art was therefore considered an untraditional choice for a young Scandinavian artist in the 1990's. However, after establishing himself locally, Markus Åkesson had several solo exhibitions and public works projects early on in his career that proved to be important stepping stones towards his current representation and international acknowledgment.

The Grove, 180x140cm, 2020, oil on canvas, Markus Åkesson

In recent years, Markus Åkesson's artistic tone has been likened to that of the Pre-Raphaelites, a group from which he has indicated that he has drawn a great deal of inspiration. Contrastingly, his work with patterns and fabrics is laced with symbolism and is an obvious point to Magical Realism in its more recent definition.[12] A commentary on Åkesson’s solo exhibition Strange Days written by French critic Grégoire Prangé describes his work by saying, "A painting by Magritte comes to mind, a magnificent kiss from two veiled lovers, an impersonal embrace, universal love. In all these works, hidden behind a succession of mythical motifs, lies human nature and all its secrets. But Markus, by drawing the contours of it, little by little, will end up painting its portrait."[13]

Sleeping Beauty scandal[]

Åkesson often speaks of a "mythical world that parallels everyday life". It was natural then, that his works often reflected the mysteries of childhood during the years that his own children were young.[14] During this time he was commissioned to do several public works projects, both paintings and sculptures. The most recent of which was commissioned by a grade school in Ängelholm, Sweden. Åkesson was asked to create a large painting in the setting of a dark forest. He chose to paint his interpretation of the familiar story, Sleeping Beauty. The primary subject of the painting is a young girl in a bright red dress, surrounded by a group of children who are staring off into the distance. The girl in the red dress is lying on a pink and orange quilt on an iron bed-frame. When the work was delivered, employees of the school felt that the painting was too ominous to hang in the cafeteria, its intended place. The painting, Sleeping Beauty, now hangs in the school's library.

Sleeping Beauty, 2016-17, Markus Åkesson, Oil on Canvas 160x290cm

The incident sparked nationwide interest and led to discussions surrounding censorship and challenges facing modern children.[15]

Åkesson's response to the school's decision was evidently rooted in curiosity. In an interview with The Swedish Television agency, he says, "I find the debate that has surfaced in response to the incident very interesting. It is rather eye-opening to witness the power of art in our society, that it can have such a strong effect on our emotions."[16]

In 2018, Kalmar Konstmuseum curated a retrospective exhibition of Åkesson’s work titled Sleeping Beauty, due, in part, to the school's reaction to the painting.


  1. ^ Kalmar län, Konst. "Konst i Kalmar län". Konst i Kalmar län.
  2. ^ Ehk, Ellen. "Ellen Ehk". Ellen Ehk.
  3. ^ Åkesson, Markus. "Markus Åkesson CV". Markus Åkesson.
  4. ^ Lindström, Jonas. "Jonas Lindström". Jonas Lindström. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  5. ^ Da-End, Galerie. "Galerie Da-End Website". Galerie Da-End.
  6. ^ Enström, Anders (17 May 2018). "Markus Åkesson om utställningen Insomnia". Barometern.
  7. ^ Åkesson, Markus. "Markus Åkesson CV". Markus Åkesson. Markus Åkesson. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  8. ^ Konst, Emmaboda. "Emmaboda Konst". Emmaboda Konst.
  9. ^ ArtRootz. "In the world of Markus Åkesson". ArtRootz. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  10. ^ Sandell, Joanna (6 June 2018). Insomnia. Kalmar, SE: Kalmar Konstmuseum & VIDA Museum & Konsthall.
  11. ^ Kamras. "Markus Åkesson". Galleri Kamras.
  12. ^ Ebert, Grace. "Ornate Fabrics Cloak Models in Disquieting Portraits by Artist Markus Åkesson". Colossal.
  13. ^ Prangé, Grégoire. "Strange Days" (PDF).
  14. ^ BORRELLI-PERSSON, LAIRD. "Meet Swedish Artist Markus Åkesson, a Favorite Collaborator of Undercover's Jun Takahashi". Vogue. Vogue. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  15. ^ Lappalianen, Kaisa. "Nybrokonstnärs tavla i blåsväder". Swedish Television. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  16. ^ Söderberg, Richard. "Han är konstnären som väckte protester". SVT. Retrieved 12 May 2017.

External links[]

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