Portrait of Öyvind Fahlström

Portrait of Öyvind Fahlström. Photo: Lütfi Özkök

Focus on Öyvind Fahlström

27.2 2015 – 2.4 2017


Moderna Museet now gives particular attention to Öyvind Fahlström, studying and presenting a number of selections from his body of work in a series of chapters, spanning a period of three years. There will be close readings of individual works as well as examinations of groups or combinations of different works. The project culminates with a big exhibition – Manipulate the World – that put Fahlström’s ideas in a contemporary context.

Öyvind Fahlström (1928–76) was born in São Paulo to Swedish-Norwegian parents. From the age of ten until 1961 he lived and worked primarily in Stockholm, thereafter in New York.

Fahlström worked with a variety of techniques

Fahlström was unquestionably one of the twentieth century’s most innovative and versatile artists. His incentive was to investigate economical, political and social issues and the production of meaning. Rather than developing a style, he worked with a variety of different media and techniques: poetry, theater, journalism, criticism, drawing, painting, film, television, happenings, radio, objects, graphic design, and installations.

An artistry that challenges us to think

Trying to convey a uniform image of Fahlström as an artist is not only difficult, it goes against the nature of his work. Even the individual pieces consist of many elements from diverse sources that have been arranged in ways that contradict established formats and methods of ordering, associating, and packaging. His work challenges the viewer not to passively accept authoritarian and simplified stories, but to approach the work actively and critically—to think.

Research project run parallel to the exhibition project

A room in the collection is devoted entirely to Fahlström studies, and his work will be presented in other places in and around the museum as well. The research and curatorial process for the exhibition takes place in collaboration with colleagues and institutions both near and far. During the fall of 2017 we publish three books as a result of the project.

Exhibition: Manipulate the World – Connecting Öyvind Fahlström
Buy the cataogues: Manipulate the World

Curator: Fredrik Liew

More about this exhibition