Fredrik Åkum Beckers Art Award 2020

25 January 2020 15 March 2020

Scholarship exhibition
Main hall, Färgfabriken

Curator Emilia Rosenqvist

The 33rd Beckers Art Award – a grant of 200,000 SEK – will this year be awarded to the 1987-born Gothenburg-based artist Fredrik Åkum. He graduated in 2013 from the Valand Academy in Gothenburg.

Jury statement

Fredrik Åkum certainly has nerve when it comes to his colours and brushwork. Carefully laid cloth on the studio floor becomes a stage for the painted dance of acrylics over the surface of the cloth.

The impatient rhythms of colour emerge almost manically with repetitions, variations, and gaps – an intricate interaction between big and small.

This is an uplifting painting on the border between the figurative and the abstract, between the random and the absolutely controlled, between the light and the darkness. This is a painting that demands obsession and passion – something so amazingly beautiful, marked by a complex perseverance.

Åkum undoubtedly captures us with his plant-based palette of colours, as well as with his fanzines and small art books – his parallel artistic track – which invite visitors to explore their own creativity. High or low, Åkum’s presence is undeniable.

Fredrik Åkum is awarded the 2020 Beckers Art Award of SEK 200,000 for his ability to make us understand through his palette that there is so much more in the beauty of painting. Indeed, there is a completely new world of nuances.

On behalf of the jury/Mårten Castenfors

Portrait of the artist inte the studio.

About the artist

Fredrik Åkum (born 1987) took his Masters Degree in fine art at Valand Academy in 2013. Åkum’s artistry has its foundation in painting. In the painting process, the focus is kept on repetition, distortion, delineation and different methods to reach abstractions within the figurative. Most often, the paintings are shown in series with various premises: they may have had their starting point in a photograph, a photocopy, the dust on the glass surface of a copying machine or parts from previous works. The copying machine became an increasingly common tool in Åkum’s painting processes as well as in his interest in fanzines and self-publishing, both practical and as an approach to the canvas.

Åkum’s work is represented in European, Asian and American collections and in several public places in Sweden. In 2016, Fredrik Åkum was awarded Sten A Olsson’s Cultural Grant, which included an exhibition at the Gothenburg Art Museum (2016-2017). He also received the Adlerbertska Cultural Grant at the Gothenburg City Museum earlier the same year. Gallery Steinsland Berliner in Stockholm represents Fredrik Åkum and during the fall of 2019 he showed the exhibition Tear out pages/Tear of Jacqueline at the gallery.


Beckers Art Award was established in 1987 and has since then proven to have a remarkable ability to identify young talents on the brink of a breakthrough in their careers. The winner is awarded a grant, which from this year has been raised from 150,000 to 200,000 SEK, and a solo exhibition that has, since 2001, been arranged and held in collaboration with Färgfabriken.

Jury: Jenny Lindén Urnes, Mårten Castenfors och Magnus Jensner

Fredrik Åkum’s website

Key partners