Kristian Evju, born in 1980 in Kongsberg, Norway, is a hyperreal multimedia artist specialising in graphite portraiture currently working in London. Completing his undergraduate degree (with Hons.) from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2007, followed by a postgraduate degree in fine art at the Chelsea College of Art in 2011, he has grown to become one of the most important and acclaimed artists of his medium in the contemporary sphere.
Evju’s early career focussed primarily on graphite portraiture, where his impressive hyper-real technique gained him considerable acclaim. He thereafter developed his characteristic assemblage technique of replicating and emulating the narratives of found objects. This recontextualization of primarily photographic material mirrors his own personal beliefs regarding humanity’s incessant need to reconstruct our own narration of reality, our own sense of selfhood.
Through his medium of associative assemblages, Evju researches aspects from particular moments in the imagery he collects then becoming the narratives portrayed in his work, creating images with pseudo-realities in a way convincing in their narrative possibility, but completely fabricated in actuality. His work does not seek to tell a story so much as has a mission to reveal specific content for the viewer, unlocking sentiments felt but rarely actualised. This is emphasised by his penchant for abstraction; in opposition with his hyper-real graphite portraiture, his use of abstraction marks a point of departure from the truth.
Evju’s chosen medium of graphite pencil on either paper or linen, requires each motion to be carefully planned and considered. The gradients in are solely created by his own hand, not by the chemical differences between pigments as is in paint. Technique in tonality is understood, however is deeply concealed through his light hand, emphasised by his combining naturalistic portraiture with large absences in composition, and trompe l’oeil pattern assertively placed atop in many of his works.
Kristian Evju is currently in the collections of Venet-Haus Foundation (Neu-Ulm, DE); Schirm Collection (Berlin, DE); Argentero Collection (IT); Department of Culture and Development (Buskerud, NO); The Central Bank of Norway (Oslo, NO); amongst others available to be found on his website or which can be emailed to you upon request.
Awards and nominations
2018 Winner: Most Ambitious, Winter Salon, Concept Space, London
2018 Winner: Overall Impact, Winter Salon, Concept Space, London
2016 Jerwood Drawing Prize (shortlisted), Jerwood Space, London
2011 Jerwood Drawing Prize (shortlisted), Jerwood Space, London
2011 Brenda Landon Pye Prize (shortlisted), Chelsea College of Art and Design, London
2007 Winner of Juvenarte, DogA, Oslo
2007 KEM’s Debutante Award, The National Annual Exhibition of the Arts, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
2007 Andrew Grant Bequest, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh
2007 Winner of NorskArt, La Viande, London
2005 RMJM Award for Art and Architecture (shortlisted), Edinburgh