Meet Apolonia Sokol and all her friends when ARKEN presents her first major international solo show.

13 October 2023 to 4 February 2024


Apolonia Sokol, Le Printemps - Linda, Nicolas, Raya, Dustin, Simon.e, Nirina, Claude, Bella, Dourane, 2020 (detail). Courtesy of the artist and THE PILL®

Apolonia Sokol, Dina El Kaisy Friemuth, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and THE PILL®

Powerful gazes

Intense eyes meet you wherever you look in Apolonia Sokol’s colourful paintings. Powerful and possessed of great immediacy, her works have grown straight out of her life as part of the rebellious, artistic underground scene of Paris. The paintings offer up a colourful, intimate personal gallery of the artist’s friends, family and lovers. People of different ethnicities and gender identities – tenderly portrayed and placed right at eye level. They look at you when you look at them – and you are let into their lives, full of dreams and nightmares, love and conflict.

The power of images

Images have power, and Sokol uses it to open our eyes to the human beings behind them. Sokol often uses a classic, traditional portrait format, but she does not immortalise rulers and kings. Her models are artistic and activist people living on the fringes of society, whom she imbues with significance, agency and authority through the portraits. Sokol’s entire artistic practice is characterised by an intertwining of art history and her own life – a life led among people who reject social norms and want to change the world. She herself says that it is impossible for her to separate her art and her identity.

Underground artist and international star

French-Polish Apolonia Sokol was born in France in 1988. In Paris, she grew up in a bohemian environment at her parents’ avant-garde theatre. Her upbringing would become a springboard for her artistic life and career. Incidentally, Sokol spent part of her childhood and youth in Denmark.
Apolonia Sokol graduated in 2015 from one Europe’s finest and most traditional art academies, the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. She is now a professor at the École Supérieure d’Arts et Médias in Caen/Cherbourg.

Film screening

Every day during the exhibition period, you can watch a critically acclaimed and internationally award-winning documentary about Apolonia Sokol’s life and her path, strewn with difficulties, towards an international career as an artist. The film is shown Wed–Sun at 14:30 in ARKEN’s cinema, with an extra screening Thursdays at 18:45. Duration: 1:56 hours. Admission to the film is included in the price for admission to the museum.

The exhibition is supported by:

Elly & Aage W Jensens Fond

ARKEN’s exhibitions in 2023 are supported by the Augustinus Foundation