Youngjae Lih Beckers Art Award 2021

13 March 2021 30 May 2021

Scholarship exhibition
Main hall, Färgfabriken

Curator Emilia Rosenqvist

The 34th Beckers Art Award – a grant of 200,000 SEK – will this year be awarded to Malmö-based artist Youngjae Lih, born in 1984 and from Seoul in South Korea. He graduated from Malmö Art Academy in 2016.

Jury statement

With his background as an electrical engineer at a large electronics company in South Korea, Youngjae Lih is very knowledgeable about the advanced technology that distributes sound and pictures to consumers around the globe. In art, he sees completely different opportunities to develop his own personal solutions, create new technology, and work in an area where alternative expressions and communication are created.

Lih constructs the equipment he uses in his artworks himself. He familiarises himself with the various functions of technology by deconstructing it. This approach, known as reverse engineering or decompilation, generates knowledge that is integrated into new technology. In order to enable the person taking part of the artwork to better understand what he does, he often produces manuals formulated in pictures as a form of documentation for the artwork.

By taking technology apart, Lih creates his own material where the correlation between different properties interacts and produces new, self-generating expressions. Image and sound work together: one generates the other as part of the artwork, where you see what you listen to, and hear what you see.

Youngjae Lih is awarded the 2021 Beckers Art Award because, through his deep personal understanding of the ways in which technology works, he creates forms of communication that elevate both the simple and the complex in the potential of technology to create works of art that produce poetic qualities and unique experiences. This is art that, in the meeting between technology and content, evokes philosophical questions about perception and understanding.

On behalf of the jury/Magnus Jensner

Porträtt av konstnären iförd glasögon med en specialtillverkad anordning som tar en bild varje gång ögonen blinkar.
The artist wearing self-made device which takes pictures every time the eyes blink.
from the performance Unseen I/II, 2018. Photo: Shen Jingfeng, Chengdu, China

About the artist

Youngjae Lih (born 1984) from Seoul, South Korea. He received his Master of Fine Arts at Malmö Art Academy 2016. Lih also has a degree in Fine Arts from the Korean National University of Arts as well as in Electrical Engineering from Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea.



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

Youngjae Lih’s website

Key partners

With support from Stockholms stad, Region Stockholm and Kulturrådet