Ahmad Siyar Qasimi’s painting Venus, which is nearly three metres wide, shows a lakeshore in the half-light just before dawn. A campfire is testimony to human presence, but apart from the fire, only their footsteps remain. The trees on the lakeshore are almost too neatly lined up, adding to the enigmatic character of the image. What happened? Where are the people whose footsteps we see?

Large-scale images of moments caught in time 

Ahmad Siyar Qasimi often explores the contrast between the beautiful and the tragic. Engaging in dialogue with art history, he rearranges the classic figurative representation of moments caught in time. His works refer both to art history and to a grim reality that few of us are willing or able to face up to.

His art explores the undefinable area between the beautiful and the tragic, balancing on a fluid line between delight and dread, reality and fiction. He is profoundly aware that the growing flood of images we are exposed to affects us to an almost unfathomable degree.

In recent years, Ahmad Siyar Qasimi’s work has revolved around genre paintings with inspiration from Flemish still lifes and their complex tradition of decorative and symbolic representations of extrasensory aspects. In Qasimi’s art, the symbolism is not about classical metaphysical references; instead, it points to a phenomenological sensory reading of the painting itself in which the meaning of the image is revealed through its presentation, contemporary character and presence.

Recipient of the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist Grant 2024

Every year, in early March, the New Carlsberg Foundation presents awards to individuals who make a special contribution in the service of the arts and the Danish art and museum landscape. The New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist Grant is given to one or more artists who stand out with an artistic practice characterized by courage, originality and impact, both in Denmark and abroad.

In 2024, Ahmad Siyar Qasimi was among the recipients of this award, and in connection with this occasion, a short film was produced about his work. You can watch the film about Ahmad Siyar Qasimi here

Venus will be on display at Trapholt in Kolding from 2025. The painting was acquired with support from the New Carlsberg Foundation.

About Ahmad Siyar Qasimi

Ahmad Siyar Qasimi (b. 1986) was born in Kabul, trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and lives and works in Copenhagen. His paintings borrow imagery from commercial advertising, the Internet, computer (war) games, film and TV. In Qasimi’s work, the many different image fragments coexist, making it difficult to distinguish between images from computer games and terrorist propaganda. Ahmad Siyar Qasimi explores the sensory nuances in our radically altered reality and its complex and unstable mix with fiction.

Ahmad Siyar Qasimi has exhibited at Arken Museum of Contemporary Art, Trapholt –museum of modern art, craft and design, Willumsen’s Museum, Kunsthal Charlottenborg and the art gallery Filosoffen. He is represented in the collections of Trapholt - museum of modern art, craft and design and the Danish Arts Foundation. From 2017 to 2019, Ahmad Siyar Qasimi represented Denmark at the Biennale JCE; in 2021, he was awarded the Remmen Foundation Art Prize; and in 2024, he was awarded the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist Grant.