Oyvind Fahlstrom, Swedish (1928 - 1976)

Oyvind Fahlstrom

Fahlström was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the only child to Frithjof Fahlström and Karin Fahlström. In July 1939 he was sent to Stockholm to visit some distant relatives and after World War II he started to study and later on to work as a writer, critic and journalist. From 1960 until 1976 he was married to the Swedish Pop painter Barbro Östlihn.

1928
Öyvind Axel Christian Fahlström was born Brazilian on the 28th of December in São Paulo, the only child of Frithjof Fahlström, born in Trondheim, Norway, in 1886, and Karin Fahlström, née Kronvall, born in Stockholm in 1900. He spends his childhood in Sáo Paulo, Niteroi and Rio de Janeiro and is educated in Portugese and English at Escola Britannica de São Paulo.

1939
In July, at the age of ten-and-a-half, he is sent to Sweden to spend the summer with his maternal grandfather and aunt. A month after his arrival in Stockholm, Germany invaded Poland. Now stranded by the outbreak of World War II, he is enrolled mid-September in Whitlockska Samskolan, a private school for foreign students in Stockholm.

1948
His parents return to Stockholm, by which time he is an adult. After graduating at the top of his class in June, he is forced to choose between Brazilian and Swedish compulsory military service. He elects to become a Swedish citizen and relinquishes his Brazilian passport.

1949-52
Classical studies and art history at the University of Stockholm. Travels to Paris and Italy meeting other poets and painters.

1950-61
Theatre and poetry, journalism, criticism, translations. Contributes regularly to the Swedish press on cultural topics, both local and foreign, a role he will perform the rest of his life. Divides his time between Stockholm, Paris, and Rome.

1952
Produces Opera, a room-sized drawing using felt-pen.
Marries Birgitta Tamm.

1953
Solo exhibition at Galleria Numero, Florence (shows Opera). Writes Hätila ragulpr på fåtskliaben: manifest för konkret poesi (Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy: Manifesto for Concrete Poetry), which is published in 1954.

1955-57
Produces Ade-Ledic-Nander I and II, which are part of a planned series of "character-form" paintings. Writes twenty-seven page scenario for the second painting.
Separates from Birgitta Tamm.

1955
Joins the Phases movement. Opera shown at Galerie Creuze, Paris. Solo exhibition at Galerie Aesthetica, Stockholm.

1956
Every second Saturday hosts an open studio.

1958
Contract with Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris. Participates in the Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture at the Carnegie Institute of Art. Scholarship for study in Italy.
Divorces Birgitta Tamm.

1959
Solo exhibition at Galerie Daniel Cordier and at Galerie Blanche, Stockholm. Honorable mention for Ade-Ledic-Nander II at the 5th Bienal de Sáo Paulo.

1960
Scholarship for study in France.
Marries Barbro Östlihn.

1961
Grant from the Swedish-American Foundation to live in New York. Moves into the 128 Front Street studio formerly occupied by Robert Rauschenberg. Jasper Johns lives in the same building. Henceforth he lives and works in New York, spending summers in Sweden, France and Italy. Begins the Sitting… series.

1962
First variable painting, Sitting… Six months later. Solo exhibition at Galerie Daniel Cordier. Participates in New Realists exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York.

1962-64
Happenings at Moderna Museet, Stockholm and on Swedish television. Publishes the word-game Minneslista för Dr. Schweitzer's sista uppdrag [Checklist for Dr. Schweitzer's Last Mission]. Fåglar i Sverige [Birds in Sweden], a "tape-event", is broadcast by Swedish radio.

1964
Venice Biennale. Solo exhibition at Cordier & Ekstrom Inc., New York

1965
Writes the plays Hammarskjöld om Gud [Hammarskjold on God], which is staged at Pistolteatern, Stockholm in 1966, directed by Sören Brunes, and Bröderna Strindberg [The Strindberg Brothers]. Represented by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York.

1966
Den helige Torsten Nilsson [Holy Torsten Nilsson], a five-hour audiphonic novel, is broadcast by Swedish radio. First variable multiples, Eddie (Sylvie's Brother) in the Desert and a banner, Send Me Back to Congo. Represents Sweden at the XXXIII Venice Biennale (the most important work is Dr. Schweitzer's Last Mission, 1964-1966). Performance of Kisses Sweeter Than Wine for 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering organized by Experiments in Art and Technology at the 26th Street Armory, New York. Roulette, his first painting in oil on photo paper is shown in Erotic Art at Sidney Janis Gallery. Bord (poems 1952-55) published by Bonniers, Stockholm. The Strindberg Brothers is translated to French.
Mao-Bob Hope-March (black and white, 16 mm) using material from Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.

1967
Writes the play Oswald kommer tillbaka [Oswald Comes Back]. Solo exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. Produces his first work in which the oil on photo paper on vinyl elements float on water (Parkland Memorial). Version of Kisses Sweeter Than Wine broadcast on Swedish radio. Monograph published by Bonniers, Stockholm. Participates in towards a cold poetic image, Galleria Schwarz, Milan; Pictures to be Read/Poetry to be Seen, the inaugural exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

1968
Makes two documentaries in New York for Swedish television about the anti-war movement amongst other things (black and white, 16 mm).The Strindberg Brothers is staged in New York during the summer at the Gotham Art Theatre by Michael Abrams. Finishes the play Förlåt Hitler [Forgive Hitler]. Bonniers publishes Den helige Torsten Nilsson in book form. Eddie (Sylvie's Brother) in the Desert... Collage is donated to The Museum of Modern Art, New York in the Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. Takes part in IV Documenta Kassel. Makes a thirty minute film, U-Barn (black and white and color, 35 mm). Retrospective exhibition in Pentacle, Musèe des Arts Dècoratifs, Paris, includes The Little General (Pinball Machine).

1969
Solo exhibitions at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York and Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne. Travelling retrospective organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Writes the screenplay for a feature film (old-age love story and revolt in a psychiatric hospital). Makes Meatball Curtain (for R. Crumb) for Art and Technology at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Begins filming Du Gamla Du Fria (100 minutes, color, 35 mm).

1970
Starts work on the Monopoly series. Om livskonst o.a. [On Life-art, etc.], a selection of articles and essays by Fahlström, is published by Bonniers, Stockholm.

1971
Solo exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York.

1972
Cellen [The Cell], a radio theatre collage for Swedish radio based on interviews with cancer patients. Du Gamla Du Fria [Provocation] is shown at the Venice Film Festival. Self-publishes Sketch for World Map Part I (Americas, Pacific) which is distributed in the May issue of the New Left journal, Liberated Guardian, in an edition of 7000 copies. World Bank is selected for the New York Collection for Stockholm, an American gift to Moderna Museet. $108 Bill is published by E.A.T. in two editions: as a silkscreen print and as a lithograph.
Writes the play Dromdjuret [The Dream Animal].

1973
Solo exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. Writes the play The Black Room, based on the Watergate scandal. Retrospective at Moore College of Art Gallery, Philadelphia. Sketch for "World Map", is published as a silkscreen print by Avery, Kenner and Weiner, Inc. to benefit the Youth International Party.

1974
Retrospective at the University of Wisconsin, Foster Gallery, Eau Claire. Solo exhibitions at Galerie Buchholz, Munich, and Galleria Multhipla, Milan. Die Zeit publishes an article and a silkscreen print, Column No. 4 (IB Affair). Retrospective portfolio of ten silkscreen prints published by Edizioni Multhipla, Milan. Prize for the silkscreen print, Seven S.O.M.B.A. Elements, at The 9th International Biennial Exhibition of Prints in Tokyo.

1975
Solo exhibition at Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Paris. The exhibition Let's Mix All Feelings Together - Baruchello, Erró, Fahlström, Liebig is shown in museums in Munich, Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Paris, Rennes, Humlebaek, etc. A Proposito del Mulino Stucky for the Venice Biennale. Filming of documentary on Fahlström begins (Jan Sundström, director). Begins writing play interlocking events from the life of Wilhelm Reich with scenes from the television serial, Blondie.
Separates from Barbro Östlihn, to live with Sharon Avery.

1976
Prepares to live and work in Paris for a year. Participates in Drawing Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which travels internationally. Solo exhibitions at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York and Galerie Ahlner, Stockholm. Catalogue raisonnè on his prints and multiples is completed by Sharon Avery. Éditions Maeght publishes Nights, Winters,Years (Words by Justin Hayward) in the series, Affiches (an artist-writer collaboration). Monograph published by Edizioni Multhipla, Milan (essays by Achille Bonito Oliva, Laszlo Glozer, Olle Granath, Öyvind Fahlström). Completes plans for Three Nightmares, a pool installation commissioned by Renault, Paris. Documentary on Fahlström aired on Swedish television. Elements from "Masses" and Sixteen Elements for "Chile I" prepared for publication by Gino Di Maggio and Sharon Avery. Reworks Night Music 4: Protein Race Scenario into eleven panels.
Divorces Barbro Östlihn.
An exploratory operation in mid-September reveals colon cancer metastacized to the liver which is untreatable.
Marries Sharon Avery.

Dies on the 9th of November in Stockholm.

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