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.
Read the full press release here