LIKE A COMET
By Lene Jæger Klausen, MA in Communication
It doesn’t happen often that a Danish pictorial artist becomes internationally renowned within four years of his début. It is also rare that buyers queue up to buy a painting. That solo exhibitions are sold out in 15 minutes. Or that serious galleries in Denmark and abroad compete for a chance to exhibit his works. In fact, Ole Aakjær’s story is unique.
His huge success is like a new pop song that catches on, but Aakjær does it again and again. He has had 35 exhibitions in a row since his début less than four years ago, and almost all of them have been sold out.
This is not a case of a poor, overlooked artist, who is misunderstood by his contemporaries. Quite the contrary. It is as if the whole world feels seen and understood when experiencing Ole Aakjær’s art. Everybody wants to own a piece. And then another. Ole Aakjær’s works enrich, inspire and enthral the public to such an extent that he receives fan letters, and gallery owners are met with heartrending sobs when they have to tell a smitten art collector “Sorry, the work has been sold”.
When his Danish gallery owner Kim Jørgensen from Galleri Oxholm talks about Ole Aakjær, he uses words like “spectacular”, “amazing” and “almost unreal”.
What he is referring to is Ole Aakjær’s arrival on the Danish and international art scene. People are put on waiting lists, and it is quite a challenge to make sure that none of the many interested art collectors feel overlooked or ignored. The price of an artwork has risen by around 500% since 2014, but now Aakjær has put a ceiling on the price of his works to avoid that the commercial success gets out of hand. Market forces are not allowed to rule unchecked. Ole Aakjær loves his audience and wants to avoid a situation in which only extremely wealthy people can afford to own an original work. The works should not be stored in safety boxes or be viewed as investment objects. They should be out in the world where they can make a difference – they must shine in real life.
In Denmark he is associated with Galerie Moderne in Silkeborg, where his works hang next to works by Asger Jorn, Edvard Munch, Peter Brandes and others. And at Galleri Oxholm in Copenhagen, which exhibits works by some of the most trend-setting, contemporary artists, Ole Aakjær’s paintings are an essential component.
During his fairly brief career as a pictorial artist, Ole Aakjær has had several record-selling international exhibitions in places like New York, Paris, Oslo, Montreal and London. And of course also at the galleries in Copenhagen and Silkeborg and at Danish art fairs. It all began with a single successful watercolour painting. He shared it on Facebook, and it was sold in a couple of minutes.
Ole shakes his head at the whole thing. “I find it difficult to understand why so many people fall in love with precisely my works – there are so many interesting artworks in galleries everywhere.” He is humble, flattered, proud and grateful for everything that is happening around him. He often mentions how grateful he is that he is no longer 25 or 35 years old. “It would probably have gone to my head,“ he says.
He thrives at his home on the beautiful Vejle inlet together with his family, friends, gallery owners from Denmark and abroad and, not least, the large enthusiastic audience, which shares their experience and lives with him, especially on Facebook, where it all began. Nevertheless, it is when he is alone in his studio with paper and brush that he gets his biggest kick – this is where the magic begins.
Like a comet, Ole Aakjær is blazing a trail through the art world, and the story has only just begun.