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Jockum Nordström wins the 2015 Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation Drawing Prize
Jockum Nordstrom. ©Curt Sjödell.

LES MESNULS.- The Contemporary Drawing Prize of the Daniel & Florence Guerlain Art Foundation was awarded on the 26 March 2015 to Jockum Nordström.

Jockum Nordström was born in 1963 in Stockholm, where he still lives and works. He studied at the College of Arts, Crafts and Design, in Stockholm, and his works are now in the collections of MoMA, New York, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and the Musée national d'art moderne-Centre Pompidou, Paris. In France, his works were also exhibited at the Swedish Cultural Institute, Paris, and at the LaM, Villeneuve d'Ascq in his solo show All I Have Learnt and Forgotten Again (2013). He is represented by the Magnus Karlsson, Anthony Meier, Zeno X and David Zwirner galleries.

The international jury was composed of Alexandre de Coupigny (France), Henri Griffon (France), Michèle Guyot-Roze (France), Anibal Y. Jozami (Argentina), Don Kaul (United States), Heidi Schwab (Switzerland), Luiz Augusto Teixeira de Freitas (Portugal) and Daniel and Florence Guerlain.

The Contemporary Drawing Prize is reserved for both French and foreign artists, whether they live in France or not, but who sustain a privileged cultural link with France (through exhibitions, studies, etc.) and for whom drawing constitutes a significant part of their work, whatever their main mode of expression may be (painting, sculpture, photography, etc.).

Awarded for the first time in 2007 and biennial until 2009, the Prize honours artists who make any unique work on paper or cardboard, using graphic means: crayon, charcoal, red chalk, ink, wash tint, gouache, watercolour, pastels, felt…including collages and wall drawings but excluding computer and mechanical processes.

The award ceremony took place in Paris at the Salon du Dessin at the Palais Brongniart, Place de la Bourse. The winner received an endowment of 15,000 Euros and the two other selected artists, Tomma Abts and Pavel Pepperstein, received 5,000 Euros each. A work by the winner is offered by the Foundation to the Graphic Arts collection of the French National Museum of Modern Art—Centre Pompidou.

The candidates are selected by a committee composed of the two founders, Daniel and Florence Guerlain, and of four members chosen for their competence and interest in contemporary art. Following a working meeting with the artists, visits to studios and analysis, the committee selects three artists whose work is presented to a jury, which changes with each prize and is responsible for choosing the winner.

Jockum Nordström, winner for 2015
Using fine pencil lines, flowing watercolours and carefully constructed collages, Jockum Nordström tells stories in which Stockholm's memories are mixed with his own to combine past and present. Jockum Nordström has a passion for 18th-century France and Europe, the French Revolution and the architecture of this period, which is well represented in the Swedish capital. The artist likes to observe it both in situ and in his books showing either an indirect source of inspiration or cut-out motifs. "I've always been attracted to times past, even when I was a child and had already started drawing. However, although my drawings give the impression of referring to previous centuries, for me, they evoke the present." So much so that, to the artist's way of thinking, even a piece of architecture or an animal may recall human beings and their passions. Hence the multiple erotic scenes and combinations—standing, reclining and squatting—depicting men, women and the hierarchism in our society. "As I am a storyteller, I would be a liar if I didn't tackle what occupies a large part of our lives. Then it's simply a question of composing the ensemble."

His style may recall that of Henry Darger, whose sense of watercolour and line he particularly admires. "His use of colour was very strong and I think that he was an excellent abstract painter, just like Henri Matisse, whose paper cut-outs at the Moderna Museet left such an impression on me."

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