Life-Curve No. I, Ian Fleming

Öyvind Fahlström

São Paulo, Brazil, 1928 - Stockholm, Sweden, 1976
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Oil paint on photopaper on vinyl, metal, metal sheet and magnets
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Variable painting formed by ninety-five pieces painted with oil paint on photopaper on vinyl, magnets and painted sheet metal panel
  • Dimensions: 
    106,5 x 406,5 cm
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After moving to New York in 1961, Öyvind Fahlström took part in the historical exhibition New Realists at the Sidney Janis Gallery, which marked a separation from the national Pop Art scene through a new way of connecting art and life. Fahlström’s approach to popular culture differed from the Pop artists in that he did not just use it as a collection of icons, but rather as the structural and linguistic basis of his works. He absorbed the processes of comic and illustration production in order to create work that merged recreational with political aspects. One of his major contributions was his ‘variable paintings’, consisting of cut-out vinyl figures that could be moved around, turning the picture into a living object. The various different ways the images could be positioned changed the final meaning into a kind of work that, as the artist himself said, “stands somewhere in the intersection of paintings, games (Monopoly-type and war games) and puppet theatre.” This type of work includes Life-Curve No. I, Ian Fleming, which was shown at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1967. Using changeable elements, Fahlström constructed ambiguous hieroglyphs, which contemporary critics compared to the music of John Cage, consisting of scenes connected to the literary and cinematic world of the creator of James Bond, as well as images from Fahlström’s action Mao-Hope March (1966), in which seven young people paraded along Fifth Avenue carrying placards bearing the images of Bob Hope and the face of Chairman Mao.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio