The Embassy Art Prize is an annual art competition held for Danish fine art students currently in the UK. The winner of the competition exhibits his/her collection at the Danish Embassy in London and receives a prize money of £1000 to support the costs of the exhibition.
This year, Asger Harbou Gjerdevik was the lucky winner and The Vikings were invited to a private view of his project ‘Without Transition’ at the embassy.
The Vikings sat down for a chat with Asger, who is a BA Fine Art student at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. He found out he was the winner when the Embassy gave him a call when he was at, ironically, another exhibition.
He told us that he spent approximately one year to produce ‘Without Transitions’, a project which was essentially a blend of three different media “The project consists of the three main practices I do at the moment. Paintings, prints and drawings,” he said. “And they’re all related. There is no transition, which is also the meaning behind the project.” Asger’s interest in abstract, semi-figuration and surreal art are evident in his pieces, especially his drawings.
However, interest isn’t always the same as inspirations. When we asked where he gets his inspiration from, Asger grinned. “I get a lot of my inspirations from films and music. I used to work with movies beforehand and I’m really interested in movies,” he said. “That’s definitely one of my key inspiration sources”. But he added that nothing really beats everyday life when trying to find inspiration. “Everyday life is huge inspirations, and a lot of the things is also what I think about. What I think is fun, what I think looks cool,” he stated.
Not surprisingly Asger found it difficult to pin-point his favourite piece. After a long pause he finally spoke. “It’s a really hard question,” he admitted. “It’s one big practice and then you have small elements coming out from that. I see them all as related.”
But after being pressured by The Vikings to pick (Vikings aren’t historically known to take no for an answer), Asger threw in the towel and said, “If I had to pick, I’m really pleased with the way the drawings turned out.”
Asger believes that being in London has helped his artistic process. “I come from Copenhagen. I was born and bred in Copenhagen. For me to go to London was the first time where I actually let everything back home, went to a new country, new place.”
Asger isn’t going to slow down any time soon. He’s aiming to finish a degree and will have a new exhibition later in the year. “In September, I’m going to have a group exhibition shown at the Cultural Institute of Denmark, in Edinburgh,” he told The Vikings. “I’m really looking forward to that.”
The Danish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Anne Hedensted Steffensen, told The Vikings that Asger was “very talented, not only as a painter, but also making prints” and
“This is a fierce competition so we had many, many applicants,” she said. “The reason why we chose Asger was because he had this fantastic combination of the black and white prints, and then combined with his more colourful acrylic paintings.”
Check out the gallery below to see more of Asger’s pieces and shots from the event.
Flip the page to hear an interview with Janne Malmros, the very first winner of the Embassy Art Prize in 2009 who also judged this year’s competition.