Öyvind Fahlström

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Öyvind Fahlström
Born(1928-12-28)December 28, 1928
Sao Paulo, Brazil
DiedNovember 9, 1976(1976-11-09) (aged 47)

Öyvind Axel Christian Fahlström (December 28, 1928 – November 9, 1976) was a Swedish multimedia artist.


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 artist Barbro Östlihn.


In 1953, Fahlström had his first solo exhibition, showing the drawing Opera, a room-sized felt-pen drawing. In 1953, he wrote Hätila ragulpr på fåtskliaben, a manifesto for concrete poetry, published in Swedish the following year and in English translation (by Mary Ellen Solt, in her anthology "Concrete Poetry. A world view") in 1968.

In 1956, Fahlström moved to Paris and lived there for three years before he moved to Front Street studio, New York City. In New York, he worked with different artists and explored his role as an artist further. In 1962 he participated in the New Realists exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery, in New York City. His work was included in the 1964 Venice Biennale and he had a solo exhibition at Cordier & Ekstrom Inc., New York. In 1965 he joined the Sidney Janis Gallery.

In 1966 his work Performance of Kisses Sweeter Than Wine was included in 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, organized by Experiments in Art and Technology at the 26th Street Armory, New York.[1] The same year his painting in oil on photo paper was included in a group exhibition called Erotic Art at the Sidney Janis Gallery. Fahlström had solo exhibitions at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York City in 1967, 1969, 1973 and 1976. In 1973 he wrote a play called The Black Room, based on the Watergate scandal, and he had a retrospective at Moore College of Art Gallery, in Philadelphia, Pa. During the late 1960s he was among the contributors of a satirical magazine, Puss, in Stockholm.[2]

Fahlström's work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art[3]

Although some critics such as Frances Richard dismissed him as a "throwback to Surrealism or Agitprop at worst"[4] other critics, such as Mary Flanagan have seen his use of games as constituting examples of critical play.[5]

He became a productive and well-known artist who worked in many genres, often dealing with political and social issues. On Swedish television, he made a name for himself after he smoked a pipe that he claimed contained hashish during a national broadcast.


In 1976 he died of cancer at the age of 48.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • 2006 Eye on Europe, Museum of Modern Art, New York City
  • 2005 Art and Politics, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen Germany
  • 2004 Galerie Air de Paris, Paris
  • 2004 Galerie Johann König, Berlin
  • 2003 Museum Het Domein, Sittard, Netherlands
  • 2002 Institut d´art contemporain, Lyon-Villeurbanne, France
  • 2002 Baltic, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK
  • 2001/0 BAWAG Foundation, Vienna
  • 2000 Museu d´Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona
  • 1999 Gallery 400, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • 1999 Norrköpings Konstmuseum, Norrköping, Sweden
  • 1996 Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
  • 1996 Centro Studi sull´arte Licia e Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, Lucca, Italy
  • 1996 Galerie Aurel Scheibler, Cologne
  • 1996 Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Massachusetts
  • 1995 Centre Culturel Suédois, Paris
  • 1995 Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 1995 Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst e. V., Bremen, Germany
  • 1994 Thomas Nordanstad Gallery, New York
  • 1993 Feigen Incorporated, Chicago
  • 1992 IVAM/Centre Julio Gonzalez, València, Spain
  • 1991 Galerie Aurel Scheibler, Cologne
  • 1991 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1990 Arnold Herstand & Co., New York
  • 1990 Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris
  • 1989 Galerie Ahlner, Stockholm
  • 1988 Olle Olsson-huset, Hagalund, Solna, Sweden
  • 1987 Arnold Herstand & Co., New York
  • 1985 Boibrino Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1984 Arnold Herstand & Co., New York
  • 1983 Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
  • 1982 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1982 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • 1981 Stella Polaris Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 1980 Musée national d´art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  • 1980 Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 1979 Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • 1978 Sharon Avery/Redbird, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1977 Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris
  • 1976 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1976 Galerie Ahlner, Stockholm
  • 1975 Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Paris
  • 1974 Foster Gallery, University of Wisconsin
  • 1974 Galerie Buchholz, Munich
  • 1974 Galleria Multhipla, Mailand
  • 1973 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1973 Moore College of Art Gallery, Philadelphia
  • 1971 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1969 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1969 University of Minnesota, University Gallery, Minneapolis
  • 1969 Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont
  • 1969 Edinboro State College, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
  • 1969 University of Georgia, Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia
  • 1969 University of Texas, Art Museum Austin, Texas
  • 1969 Sacramento State College, Sacramento, California
  • 1969 Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne
  • 1967 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
  • 1966 XXXIII Biennale di Venezia, Venice
  • 1964 Cordier & Ekstrom, Inc., New York
  • 1962 Galerie Danila Cordier, Paris
  • 1959 Galerie Danila Cordier, Paris
  • 1959 Galerie Blanche, Stockholm
  • 1955 Galeria Aesthetica, Stockholm
  • 1954 Eskilstuna Konstmuseum, Eskilstuna, Sweden
  • 1953 Galleria Numero, Florence


  1. ^ Per, Bäckström (2017), "Kisses Sweeter than Wine. Öyvind Fahlström and Billy Klüver. The Swedish Neo-Avant-Garde in New York", Artl@s Bulletin, 6 (2): 138–152
  2. ^ "Puss 1968–1973". tidskrift.nu (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  3. ^ "MoMA - The Collection - Öyvind Fahlström (Swedish, born Brazil. 1928;1976)".
  4. ^ Richard, Frances (May 2003), "Ovind Fahlstrom", Artforum, 41 (9): 167–8
  5. ^ Flanagan, Mary (2009), Critical Play
  • Dr. Livingstone, I Presume av Öyvind Fahlström 1961

Kelley, Mike (2003). "Myth Science". In John C. Welchman (ed.). Foul Perfection : essays and criticism. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. pp. 158-177. ISBN 978-0-262-11270-3.

External links[edit]