Öyvind Fahlström – Manipulera Världen (Manipulating the World) Book + 2CD



Hardcover book in silkscreened slipcase, fullcolour dustsleeve, bilingual Swedsish/English, including two Audio CD’s.

Öyvind Axel Christian Fahlström (1928–1976) was a Swedish Multimedia artist. He was the author of the first manifesto for concrete poetry (published in 1954), a painter and poet who made works that incorporated pop imagery and vocabulary, particularly the language of comic strips, in a radical and critical way. An acute observer of the global political events and financial processes around him, Fahlström made interactive works that illustrated the manipulation of information and data during the Cold War era. His thorough analysis of the international economic and political forces of the 1960s and 1970s is directly reflected in his work through the metaphor of the game and the presence of moveable elements. Conceived as poetic-visual arrangements of signs, his ‘variable paintings’, some of which are also known as ‘game paintings’, are theatrical and performative, requiring the active participation of the viewer, and as such offer a plurality of readings.

Under the motto: “Manipulate the world – take care of the world”, Fahlström set up a variety of meeting-places in which participants were invited to take part in an interdiciplinary game of purposeful discovery. He introduced elements of popular culture into his work early on and made substantial contributions to a critical assessment of the “medialisation” of art. In this, the most extensive book about Öyvind Fahlström to date, Teddy Hultberg charts the artist´s predominant lines of creative development and shows how his cross-genre endeavours were based on a few central ideas: character forms, signs, games and life materials.

The present study focuses on two innovative and extraordinary compositions for radio: “Birds in Sweden” (1963) and “The Holy Torsten Nilsson” (1966). These works can be heard on the two accompanying CD records and are also included here in written form. Some unique and hitherto unpublished visual and textual material, the result of several years of research by Teddy Hultberg, is also included in the book.