Philosophical artist receives Beckers Art Award 2024


The 37th Beckers Art Award has been awarded Joakim Sandqvist whose work explores how our perception of reality is influenced by concrete manipulation as well as cultural context. With a wide range of media he examines philosophical issues, often related to our post-industrial world. The result is exact and exquisite works of art.

Portrait photo of Joakim Sandqvist who received Beckers Art Award 2024.
Joakim Sandqvist is the 2024 recipient of the Beckers Art Award. Photo: Carl-Johan Olsson.

Meet Joakim Sandqvist, who exhibits his art at Färgfabriken in Stockholm from February 3 to March 17 and at KKAM (former Höganäs Museum) from April 25 to June 9.

What media do you work with?

I mainly use sculpture, video, photography, drawing and textile weaving. The choice of material comes from the ideas and contexts I work with. In my work, the history of the material itself is often central to the work.

What is the main theme in your art?

It’s not an easy question to answer, as constantly reframing what I do is an important part of my work. But you could say that I am interested in how we perceive reality. From the hyper-specific – like how we experience a colour – to how we see things based upon our ideology.

In general, I am interested in our relation to history and how local conditions are affected by global changes. My video Workers, Settlers, Hippies and Imaginary Lovers, for example, shows how the idea of a pair of ripped jeans changes with time and context. Jeans were originally workwear worn by American settlers in the late 19th century and later appropriated by artists, musicians and hippies. It became a symbol of nonconformism. But since the 1980s, ripped jeans are produced as part of the commercial fashion industry. And at the same time the production of jeans and textiles in general has been outsourced from the global north to the global south.

Joakim Sandqvist – Workers, Settlers, Hippies and Imaginary Lovers, still image from video installation.

Could you describe your artistic process?

It often begins with something casual that, when you take a closer look, opens a story and a question. It could be the view from a train window, bricks on a beach, or a piece of paper in my pocket.  This is often followed by very thorough research. It can take many years before a work is finished, but the research is rarely seen explicitly in the final result. What is important to me is that the work has a certain precision but at the same time remains open. That there is something to think and feel about it, something to explore and discuss.

What does it mean to you to receive Beckers Art Award?  

To exhibit in Färgfabriken's main hall is a great opportunity to display several of my larger-scale projects together, which will be very interesting. The grant money means that I can invest in future artistic projects, something I am looking forward to.

Joakim Sandqvist, Cotton fields.

About the artist

Joakim Sandqvist (b. 1988 in Huskvarna) lives and works in Malmö. He graduated from the Malmö Art Academy in 2018 and has also studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and as part of the Maumaus Independent Study Programme in Lisbon. Sandqvist has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Galleri Ping-Pong in Malmö and at Obra in Lund. He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, for example at Malmö Konsthall and Malmö Konstmuseum.

About Beckers Art Award

Beckers Art Award was established in 1987 and has identified and supported many young talented artists on the brink of a breakthrough in their careers. The recipient is awarded a grant of 200,000 SEK together with a solo exhibition at Färgfabriken and KKAM – Höganäs. The jury members are Jenny Lindén Urnes, Mårten Castenfors and Magnus Jensner.

Read the full statement from the jury in Färgfabriken's press release here.