Quotes from Press: 

Aktuell Fotografi


 no 12, Dec 1977 (120 p.)

The headlines on this spread give a limited picture of Ture Sjolander's activities in the area of visual arts. The number of pages of Aktuell Fotografi would not suffice to render all the newspaper clippings in which he has featured!

In 1961, Ture Sjolander made his debut as a visual artist with a visual exhibition in his native town Sundsvall. He called the exhibition at Sundsvalls Museum 'photoGRAPHICS'. The late artist Öyvind Fahlström wrote the text for the catalogue of the exhibition. We quote: "one single photographer's resources are not enough for the experiments to be conducted widely and in depth. Sweden has recently inaugurated its first studio for electronic music. When will photographers and painters be given the opportunity to explore this no-man's-land between their time honoured frontlines?"

The photographic light paintings of the exhibition were approximately a couple of square meters, black and white graphic prints, produced with the help of light and various chemicals. Some of the images were in colour, made by oxidising the silver of the photo paper with the help of a burning hot flat-iron.

Kurt Bergengren reviewed the exhibition in the afternoon paper Aftonbladet. He wrote: "He does not call himself a photographer, but a photo-graphic artist, and what is new about his pictures is first and foremost the technique he uses. Sjolander indicates many new paths - by bringing back the art of photography to its earliest photochemical experiments."

In the magazine Konstrevy, no 1 1963, Ture Sjolander's experiments are presented in depth, and in connection with this, he exhibited his graphic art at the Gallerie Observatorium in Stockholm, along with artists Lars Hillersberg and Ulf Rahmberg.

Åke Daun wrote in Folket, on the 29th of March, 1963: "He calls himself a photo-graphic artist, a union of photographer and graphic artist. He has successfully managed - it sounds like a dream - to combine photographic methods with free artistic creativity. From this technological platform, Sjolander takes us along on trips to reality, but along other roads than the ones we have tread before."

Ludvig Rasmusson wrote in the student paper Gaudeamus: "By varying his formal ways of expressing himself from one painting to the next, he does not show a lack of personality. He simply does not trust that form of personality in art, which consists in making one painting look like the next one, and he wishes to force the viewer to look beyond form, towards content."

Alf Nordström of the morning paper Dagens Nyheter wrote: "All those who like pretty and well-behaved photo-art are seriously warned against having a closer look at this exhibition. It offers howls and grimaces, cross-eyed faces and horror studies of the female flesh. But all those who are interested in seeing a photographer entering the current cultural debate, should not neglect seeing 'You have been photographed.' The exhibition has a very liberating feel to it. Its nihilism leaves a burning imprint on your retina and the conventional images are burned away. Your eyes begin to see anew."

In the news program Aktuellt, Ulf Thoren showed parts of the exhibition, and Sjolander coined the expression "We want to exhibit, not to inhibit." During the two weeks that the exhibition was shown, some 10,000 people came to see it, many of them attracted by the TV presentation.

In the afternoon paper Expressen, Katja Walden wrote: " … the artist has reached his goal, already when we react, when something happens between us and the photograph. After Ulf Linde, in the year of pop art and a couple of months after the New York-nights, everything is still possible. Ture Sjolander has made something happen in the area of photography."

Erland Törngren wrote in the paper Arbetaren; "His images make most of what we saw the other year, at the ambitious exhibition 'Swedish people as seen by 11 photographers,' look medieval. 'You have been photographed' is one the bravest attempts of a coup, one of the boldest opening moves, that has ever hit Swedish photography."



On April 24, 1965, in the paper Kvällsposten, Sjolander asked: "Why do pictures have to be translated into words?"

On July 6, 1965, Bengt Olvång wrote in the paper Stockholms Tidningen: "Ture Sjolander's television appearance is characterised by a warm humaneness and a bizarre, uproarious sense of humour. One of its most 'shocking' features is composed of a grand piece of Vivaldi music, illustrated by a little boy who is picking his nose. However, what is really most shocking, is the way in which the Broadcasting Corporation is acting. Heads of department become self-appointed censors, and in the name of 'The Swedish People', they erase program features, such as Sjolander's TV film. The thought of letting opinions and values develop freely is totally foreign to them. The broadcasting monopoly watches over people's opinions and hinders all attempts at moving in any radical direction."

Jonas Sima wrote in Stockholms Tidningen, on October 23, 1965: "Sjolander also has opinions and a social temperament. He has produced the kind of film I want to watch - and produce."

On October 28, 1965, Mauritz Edström wrote in Dagens Nyheter: "He is simply testing our attitudes in relation to the photography, by placing it in unexpected contexts. When he places his enlargements on billboards and then films them, the result is really challenging: what resources of expression can't we find lying idle under the old cobweb of conventional views on pictures!"

In the Dagens Nyheter's art column, Olle Granath wrote on the 22nd of January, 1966: "The technique has the impersonality of the American pop-artists, but in the motif, there is so much more interest in the contents of the picture. The exciting pictures of this exhibition are those where you see these gigantic photographs posted on some empty outdoor wall-space above people's heads - people who are rushing past on the street like anonymous shadows, without reacting to the new and provoking elements of their town. Being in such a hurry, they may not have seen the provocation, but only the resemblance. There is something eerily suggestive about these pictures, which remind you of the documentary movie 'The Eye' that was shown on movie theatres some years ago."

In 1968, when Annagreta Dyring of the magazine Populär Fotografi, resumed what had happened in Swedish photography, she wrote this among other things: "Ture Sjolander was the instigator of a recent event that caused great resonance in the world of Swedish photography. It was at the time of poked tongues. The grimace in the picture became the expression of a provocatively defensive attitude towards a perhaps too expectant world around us. It meant to build a bridge between the picture and the bloated spectator, even if it were to be built out of ridicule. It gave another angle to the democracy of the photograph. The traditional silence and the worn-out ways of presenting things had gotten alternatives worthy of discussion. In other words, it was a bridge. It did not matter (at least it does not matter looking at it in hindsight) if the bridge was built out of deep respect, it was accepted even if it consisted of disgust or horror. It was somewhat surrealistic, with a hint of dada. The main thing was to give the viewers something to sink their teeth into. Sjolander's cheeky revolt against standardised thinking and photographic conformism preceded - in its pronounced form - other attempts at doing the same thing in this country. It disturbed obsolete ways of thinking in the field of traditional visual art."



Electronic painting.

'TIME,' as well as 'Have you thought about the role of photography…?' , were produced for television, which its technology and basic functions in mind. Similar electronic works of art have since rapidly been produced in different places of the world. Video art is now an established notion. An American video artist, Nam June Paik (born in Korea), has applied the same methods when producing his works, after having Sjolander- Wikström show him 'TIME', both in person and broadcast on Swedish television. Pontus Hultén, the former director of the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, recommended that Sjolander should apply for a government artist grant of SEK 6,000, in 1966. Hultén wrote: "In recent years, Sjolander has, showing great skills of inventiveness, worked on projects that bring together several different, but costly proceedings of work. Since his ideas are among the most interesting ones that have appeared in recent years, I would highly recommend you to consider him for this grant." And Sjolander got the grant.

In December of 1966, Sjolander went to London, Paris and Hamburg, and got an invitation to produce a new piece of work from the French television (ORTF). Along with the foreign correspondent of the leading morning paper Dagens Nyheter, Lars Weck (who was studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris at the time), he outlined a new "program" called 'MONUMENT'. This collaboration marked the beginning of a large-scale media art-project with an audience of approximately 150 million people. Weck wrote in Dagens Nyheter on the 4th of February, 1967 (before the beginning of their co-operation): "Ture Sjolander has not used his first long sejour abroad to go on pilgrimages to widely known monuments, unless you consider television one. He finds it interesting to work directly for television, both because it makes every person's home a gallery, and because it gives the artist so many technical possibilities."

The Swedish Broadcasting Corporation did not show any interest until both the French and the German television companies had invited him to work with them. The Swedish TV-production was brought about by Kristian Romare. Several European countries broadcasted the completed production, which was also transformed into different graphic productions on a large scale, there was the LP-record 'Monument' with Hansson/Karlsson, the book 'Monument' with a preface written by Bengt Feldreich and TV technicians (among others), there were outdoor- and gallery exhibitions. Others artists were inspired by the visual material and coloured images from 'Monument' in oil-colour and in various textile fabrics. Images from 'Monument' were shown at the 5th Biennale in Paris, in the fall of 1967. Pierre Restany - one of Europe's most respected art critics - wrote that unfortunately he was unable to attend the whole event because of a journey to South America, but had to settle for the last few days: "But better late then never. Sjolander's works struck me with their absolute modernism. I was also struck by his acute instincts, his poetic use of the technology of the mass-medium - an iconographic liberation on the level of information technology - all in the language of the masses. Sjolander's works of art, which combine art and technology, become an attempt to preserve our poetic survival. It is a truly humane, or rather humanistic achievement, in the modern sense of the word."

In March, 1967, Sjolander-Weck formulated a kind of manifesto in the magazine Bazaar (no.1, published by the Galleri Karlsson in Stockholm): "The art gallery has to come to the people, obviously it is not working the other way round. At least not if you are asking for art to be meaningful to more than a handful of people. Without failing or most popular galleries, or the admirable role of the Modern Museum of Art, one has to acknowledge that they in no way can compete with a medium such as television for range - it is our so far most effective means of distributing images. Most people will agree that television is extremely effective, but in art circles television is seen as nothing more than a publicity-machine. Television can produce programs on an exhibition, explaining and attracting visitors to the source itself, which consists of the de facto exhibited objects. Few people are ready to agree that television itself is a medium and a gallery for the visual artist. They are again haunted by the myth of the original, the "thing" which is "art itself." It is a concession to this same myth, when the artists of Multiart are asked to sign an edition of 1/300 copies. It would have been more logical to print, that is, machine sign a mass-produced piece of art. If you work directly for the TV screen, with electronics as your brush, no one would probably think of having artists travelling around, signing all the millions of television monitors."

In 1968, Ture Sjolander, along with 600 million other viewers, studied the satellite transmissions from NASA's spaceflights around the moon. This study resulted in a new production for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, called 'Space in the Brain.' People now had colour TV, and it seemed natural for an artist to comment on those historic events with a new piece of work.

A new agreement was made with the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, this time with Sjolander, Bror Wikström, Lars Svanberg and Sven Höglund. The photographer Lennart Nilsson delivered a recently taken picture of the human eye as seen from the inside, and NASA's photo department contributed with the best film footage from all their previous spaceflights. The final commentary of their "space-opera" was an electronic explosion of colour. The theme of the production was two poles: one, which we call space (and that we do not know so much about yet), and the other, that which a person registers through the eye (and which we do not know too much about either). This, and man's vanity, was that 'space' which the artists referred to. Tapestries for interior design and world-wide best-selling posters were produced out of this static visual material. Hansson/Karlsson made the music for the TV-"program." An LP-record was also released.



In 1970, Sjolander's next project was a analytical photo-essay, a book on the mysterious Greta Garbo (published by Harper&Collins, New York 1971). This time he was working with ordinary documentary pictures, nothing was electronically manipulated. The book was a success, both commercially and as a documentary.

The Garbo biography was published in several countries, such as the United States, Canada, the UK, Sweden and Germany.

Chaplin's "My life in pictures," was Ture Sjolander's idea, and as a compensation for him letting them take over the book project and the dummy of the book, Chaplin's family ordered an edition of a graphic art portfolio containing 30 different screen-prints, 60 x 60 cm. The portfolios were signed were signed and numbered by Sjolander and autographed by Charlie Chaplin. Sjolander has interviewed both Chaplin and Garbo and he calls those two great contemporary stars "images." It is as such, that they have been met by their audience of millions of people.

Rune Jonsson

August 1977

Translated from Swedish by Linda Henriksson.


From the Swedish Culture Magazine


No 3:1985

"In 1961, Swedish television only broadcasted on one channel, in black and white of course. The most upsetting thing that had been shown so far, was Per Oscarsson taking off his longjohns in the family entertainment program Hylands Hörna, and this caused a public outcry. It was in those quiet backwaters, at a time when Jan Myrdal had not yet been hit on the head with the Vietnam billy stick, that the artists Ture Sjolander and Bror Wikström started experimenting with the TV medium as an art-form. Why produce 100 litographies, when you can distribute your work of art to 8, 50, 100 people via television and satellites?, they wondered. But most important was the protest against the traditional use of the television technology itself, and turning a media-development into a free and artistic intervention became necessary.

However, it was difficult to find the necessary support to realise their ideas. The framework was very narrow, but Ture Sjolander already knew this. The year before, in 1965, he had made a first attempt to produce television art, directly for the medium, and he was stopped. The program, "Have you thought about the role of photography…?", was already in the TV-guides, but it was completely censored by the direction of the Broadcasting Corporation. "They have never given me any valid justification for their censorship," Ture Sjolander says today.

Perhaps it was censored because he had photographed nude models from grotesque angles and wildly grimacing people? Along with Oscarsson's longjohns, this provides us with a clear image of how far you could go in the Swedish society of 1968.

"Ture lives in a pink wooden house on Gärdet in Stockholm. It is surrounded by fences, mysterious sculptures and menacing beware-of-the-dog signs. Is he a bitter recluse, who is hiding away in his nest, while dreaming about the happy '60s? Not at all. Ture looks fresh and wears well-ironed clothes, looking a lot younger than 47.

First, some personal details:

Recipient of a Royal Artist Grant. He is not listed in the telephone directory, and it is extremely difficult to get through to his answering machine. He was the first person in Sweden, and probably internationally, who realised the possibilities of video and television for art, culture and advanced communication. As early as 1966, he wanted to distribute his "video art" (even though the word was not yet invented) via satellite.

He is a multi-media artist who has collaborated with, among others, the rock band Hansson&Karlsson. Hologram expert. Author on books about Greta Garbo and Charles Chaplin. Founder of the association Video-NU-Videocentrum (with 150 members and fifteen corporate members).

Except for being a visionary, Sjolander has a bunch of other projects coming up. He is trying to get government funding so he can document the public art in Sweden (or will McDonald's be the sponsor?). He wants to make a movie out of Erik Lundqvist's book "No tobacco, no Hallelujah" (he has already bought the film rights from the author, and a contract has been signed with the production company Måsen and the author) and Ann Zacharias. He is planning a trip to Papua New Guinea.

Sjolander started thinking about the possibilities of the TV medium and its power to connect with its audience. He found a partner in Bror Wikström, who was a major talent at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. However, he had turned his back on those very people calling him a talent. Sjolander and Wikström became inseparable and they followed in no one's footsteps, they went beyond pop art, which was the most extreme art form at the time.

We wanted to punch pop art in the face, meaning that we wanted to use those big outdoor billboards and wall spaces in subway stations for example, that inspired the pop artists, and we were inspired to use this space as an art space, not for commercial purposes.

Bror and I were "best friends and enemies" at the same time, we were working on a completely unexplored theme, we worked day and night for one and a half years with a new manifest, on television, on photo exhibitions and galleries. I remember Bror advertising among the ads for galleries in Dagens Nyheter: "Gallery of Thought - outdoor exhibition" in Kungsträdgården (the King's Gardens) in Stockholm city. But it was not a "gallery" as such. Kungsträdgården is always a gallery of thought, the image that remains on your retina. Bror has left the art world now, he cannot go back to painting, he cannot turn back the time. The "bijouterie-painters" hated him because he was so far ahead of them, both artistically and academically. My activities in those years were a protest against the word. The art critics were writing away, expressing guesses and opinions. "You go ahead and write," I thought. "Ten years ago I presented a complete presentation about a video studio for research, education and production (it has been postponed for years by the Art Council of Sweden, that is complaining about how badly prepared we are for satellite programs today!).


"I called on all the political parties in 1974 together with Bror Wikström.


increase in the budget of the Government Art Council for Public Art, for the purpose of artistically humanising public places. At the communist party leader's, the clothing was a working class jacket, at the right wing party leader Boman's, the clothing was Sunday-best shirt and a grey suit.


the budget increased from SEK 3,7 million to 11 million! (Ture does not mind the epithet Cameleon Master).


"I know what is normal and acceptable in society, and at the same time I am bored with it. Sometimes I psyche myself up by behaving recklessly … to feel free." There you go. To the above catalogue, we may add that Ture Sjolander, if anyone, can be named the father of Swedish video art. The curators of the International Video Festival in Stockholm, held from February through March, managed to convince Sjolander to come there and talk about how it all began in Sweden. Ture showed up, immaculately dressed in a white suit and pink tie. Ture began by saying: "We wanted the artist to really exhibit, not to inhibit at museums and galleries." On the last night of the festival, Ture Sjolander showed the TV program that had been stopped in 1965, on a 6x7 m big screen, just after the show about American punk and underground videos. "- Visual art of today is at the same stage that literature was before Gutenberg's invention of the printing press." This is a typical quote from Sjolander in 1963. He explains: "Let's take an artist such as Ulf Rahmberg, who paints symbolic paintings with a very political content. He works six months on a painting, using the most expensive canvas and oil paint. Then he sells it to some damn wealthy dentist who shuts it up in his private living room. When he has such an important symbolic message, he should paint on toilet paper with poster paint and distribute it on postcards, posters, video and television! Preferably via satellite!

The distribution is just as important as art itself: to communicate about communication is just as important as the mode of communication. The Mona Lisa-painting is not interesting per se, it is the interplay between the people looking at the painting that has become interesting. Because almost no one is interested in the painting, its power of attraction is over after three minutes."

Öyvind Fahlström once put it this way: "Hang up a Rembrandt on your wall, it will blend in with the pattern of the linoleum within a weeks time. It is just a myth, an illusion, that it its value is alive and continuous and that you can look at it anew one day after the next … People who can experience that must be completely crazy."

Öyvind Fahlström died in 1976 and when we meet Sjolander, parts of Fahlström's production is hanging on the walls of one of Stockholm's more pretentious galleries. We looked at the exhibition and felt slightly vertiginous, or perhaps nauseous? Fahlström's protests against the US warfare in Vietnam were sold for approximately SEK 500,000 a piece, and then we are talking about graphic prints. "It is interesting, but really not that strange," Ture says. "First of all: I do not believe that Fahlström tried to express a protest, he connected a modern series of events… "(the magazine is ruined and the text illegible).

"Sjolander speaks fast, is well articulated and convincing. He runs around in his house, finding newspaper clippings with quotes to support his ideas. I am sure he can be a difficult bastard.

- Once I was invited to talk about public art with some old local government councillors. I suggested that I'd make something with big fingerprints in concrete, where the grooves of the fingerprint would be about 1/2 metre tall. 'Well, isn't that a funny idea,' said one of the old councillors, 'one would have to hope that it were to be the city mayor's fingerprints then.' I felt completely fed up and paralysed by the whole thing, by the disrespect of an original idea. I couldn't see any development. I couldn't do what Michelangelo did, which was shoving the axe into the ground in front of the councillor and say: 'It was my concept, therefore it will be my fingerprints.'

In the socialistic countries, art is also governed by the politicians' wishes. There is a pressure from above: 'You bloody artist, we want you to paint a worker who is using a sledge hammer.' So the artists adapt, and become clever "photographic" painters. 'Just look at the art clubs in Sweden. They have tremendous power. There are 400 clubs, and it is said that they have about 400,000 members altogether, at Atlas Copco, ICA, Honeywell Bull, whatever. It's a fun thing for those who sit in front of their computer screens all day long, they get a bit of status if they can do some art-thing in their spare time. For them to buy something for their art raffles, it had better be something ingratiating. Artists are aware of this now, so they paint something that will please the majority - instead of going broke.


Christian Wigardt / Erik Ohlsson 1985

Translated from Swedish by Linda Henriksson.

Dr. Gary Svensson om Ture Sjölander


"Who, in fact, knows anything about pictures? And why do we understand so little about visual semantics? Photography and motion pictures have existed for 100 years, television for 50. Despite this, pictures have not attained more than a purely illustrative function. Why? Probably, because most of our pictures are created by Word people. In fact, roughly half the items on TV today could just as well be broadcast on radio instead." This is a quotation from a paper "The impact of New Technology on the Development of Culture" presented by Ture Sjölander at the World Conference on Culture in Stockholm march 31, april 2 1998.

Ture Sjölander (f. 1937), som debuterade med en separatutställning på Sundsvall Museum år 1961, har gjort sig känd som experimentell fotograf och avantgardekonstnär. Till skillnad från flera andra här presenterade konstnärer, finns en del dokumentation om Sjölander. En utförlig tidig presentation återfinns i Konstrevy nummer ett 1963 och en senare i Aktuell Fotografi december 1977. Den tidigare presentationen skedde efter utställningen på Galleri Observatorium med Lars Hillersberg och Ulf Rahmberg, då Sjölander just hade etablerat sig som konstnär.

Samma år medverkade han på en samlingsutställning på White Chapel Art Gallery i London och hade också meriterat sig för Statens Konstnärsstipendium samt Stockholms Stads kulturstipendium. Den senare presentationen från 1977 gjordes efter det att Sjölander producerat en större väv efter fotografiska förlagor till Polar Musik AB.

Sjölander var en pionjär inom det som kom att kallas "new media", Öyvind Fahlström skrev i förordet till Sundsvallsutställningen:

Till fotografikerna som han kallar dem som känner sig otillfredsställda med dialektiken i den traditionelle fotografens förhållande till motivet: när han ser sig om efter motivet är han motivets suveränt väljande och vrakande herre,  i samma ögonblick han rör utlösaren har han blivit motivets slav utan möjlighet att (annat än schatteringsvis) som målaren omforma, utesluta, framhäva i motivet. (Från Öyvind Fahlströms förord "Om Ture Sjölanders fotografik" till utställningen 1961.)

1964 kom Ture Sjölander att bli vida omskriven i samband med utställningen Ni är fotograferad på Galleri Karlsson (24/10-13/11). Det är fullt tänkbart att galleriet genom denna kontroversiella utställning genast fann sin status, som ett av Stockholms mest inflytelserika gallerier för politisk konst såväl som för sub- och motkultur. Vid tiden för Sjölanders utställning framfördes stark kritik mot denna, till synes dadaistiska, form av fotografi, bland annat från Ulf Hård af Segerstad. Samma år ställde också en bekant från Sundsvall, Sven Inge de Monér, ut på Galleri Karlsson. Tillsammans med ytterligare en konstnär, Bror Wikström, kom de under sextiotalet att inleda olika samarbeten. De tre intresserade sig för elektroniska bildexperiment där Sjölanders kontakter inom SR/TV kom att spela en avgörande roll. Sjölander beskriver inte 60-talet som revolution utan som en re-evolution och har i efterhand förklarat hur han som konstnär försökte att arbeta med olika typer av medier. Exempelvis med filmerna Time och Monument, vilka båda visats i svensk TV men också uppmärksammats utomlands. Han var en drivande person i projektet "multikonst" som genomfördes av producenten till Monument, Kristian Romare. Detta tas upp i Rune Jonssons artikel från 1977 på följande sätt:

I TV-Aktuellt visade Ulf Thorén upp delar av utställningen och Sjölander myntade begreppet "om man skall ställa ut så skall man ju inte ställa in". Under de två veckor utställningen varade kom det omkring 10.000 besökare, många lockade av TV-presentationen. Detta fick Sjölander att fundera på nya distributionsformer för bildutställningar. Via TV och utomhusutställningar borde publikunderlaget kunna breddas. ("Ture Sjölander, en kuppman inom svensk fotografi", Aktuell Fotografi, 12, 1977.)

Det var många i det tidiga 1960-talet som uppmärksammade Ture Sjölanders konstnärskap. Experimentfilmerna Time och Monument kom att bli höjdpunkten av Sjölanders framgångar under 1960-talet. Bland senare projekt märks Video Nu i Stockholm. I sin breda produktion och ambition har Ture Sjölander bland annat uppmärksammats då han under 1970-talet tagit de första färgfotografierna av Greta Garbo eller haft Sir Charlie Chaplin som modell. Sjölander är numer verksam i Australien.

Gary Svensson 



Digitala Pionjärer, Carlsson Bokförlag, 2000, sid 64-65

You are art!

by Aapo Saask


"Art is in the soul of the beholder." That is the expression that I associate the most with Ture Sjolander. By reaching into the soul of the individual person, the artist contributes to the building of the collective consciousness - the spirit of our society, our cultural inheritance, our collective subconscious.

In the beginning, art was communication, magic and adornment - all at once. A couple of hundred years ago, the notion of "art" came to be used more and more as a synonym for ornamentation in rich people's homes.

Ever since, there has been a struggle between art as expression and art as decoration (and private property, and later on, even tax shelter). Since most artists want to make a living out of their work, it is easy for the money side to win. This has not been the case for Ture Sjolander. He doesn't say: "Look at my work and buy it!" He says: "I am your mirror."

In order to find the roots of art, he travelled to what is today considered primitive societies in Papua New Guinea. He found body painting and learnt about the original meaning of art - communication, magic and adornment. Many artists have been inspired by body painting and developed it into various expressionistic experiments with erotic undertones, but Sjolander left it as he found it. It is of an ephemeral nature. It cannot be sold at Sotheby's and it cannot be exhibited at the Tate (at least not without losing its soul). Perhaps it can be nailed to a cross? Yes, only he who sacrifices himself for his fellow men, is an artist. But sacrifice does not mean that the artist must be good - or God.

After studying the culture of the Aborigines in Australia, Ture Sjolander did not come out with quaint proposals on how to promote Aboriginal Art as others have done. He saw a bigger picture and wrote: "The Aboriginals still have what we lost: cultural dignity. Undoubtedly the Aboriginal is Australia's richest heritage. The British/Australians have historically proved that they are unable to deal with the problem. These bullies, have always been the problem for the Aborigines and still are, as well as they are the problem for today,s immigrants."

Sjolander's study was commissioned by the Queensland Government. But when it was completed it was not published. The newspapers would not publish the summary. No newspaper would even accept the summary as an ad. Finally, it was broadcasted on a local TV-show. And the Aborigines still live their lives on reservations under very primitive conditions. Although most of Australians are of non-English speaking background (the term used is NESB), the queens dutiful convicts still hold a firm grip of the island/continent.

Going from the most ancient to the most modern, Ture Sjolander has been called to Godfather of computer game-players, because he was the first person in the world who created a film with electronically animated images for TV. From Sjolander's point of view, this was not an individual achievement, he was simply part of a collective process of the development of mankind. I claim he had antennae. "Not at all," he says, "just a curious mind."

In 1997, when Ture Sjolander was invited to work in China, the closed fist was still a very strong symbol in this country. Sjolander displayed two gigantic closed penises (marble knots). Everybody, except customs, understood the symbolism. The statues still remain in Changchun as a reminder that there are many kinds of freedom to be won, in addition to the obvious first one, the freedom from poverty.

Was this a political manifestation? Yes and no and certainly not party politics. Real politics is that which makes society progress, all else is a charade. This is what Sjolander showed the Australian public when he caused a government crisis by prompting the Prime Minister to sign a five-dollar bill. As in many other countries, to scribble on a bill is an illegal act in Australia, and the opposition called for the government to resign.

"Aren't there more important things to argue about?" many Australians asked themselves when the debate was at its worst. Many people realized that their cherished democracy was nothing but a game of chess for the power hungry wannabe aristocracies, and that they themselves were nothing more than pawns.

Another "installation", set in Sweden, made it to the front pages of the nations' two dominating evening papers: "Famous Swedish artist threatens to kill Prime Minister."

The back-ground was that American private eyes had been hired by the Swedish Law Enforcement Authorities to act in the Philippines on behalf of Swedish and American courts in a custody case about Sjolander's son Matu. Sjolander wanted to call attention to the fact that private investigators were cheating the Swedish Government for millions of dollars. He travelled to Sweden. Being a famous artist, he got an appointment with the PM, at that time Ingvar Carlsson, but at the last moment Carlsson had to cancel the meeting to go to a state-funeral in Israel.

Sjolander, who was used to censorship and cancelled exhibitions, laconically told the secretary that the PM would soon have to go to another funeral - meaning his, i.e. Ture's, own, as it was well known that his life was threatened by three contract killers from the Philippines!

The secretary misinterpreted it for a threat against the PM. For this Ture Sjolander's spent two months in police custody. When the private eyes found out about this, they thought of a way to hide their million-dollar-scam, and filed additional complaints against Sjolander. He was supposed to have threatened one of them. In court, the only threat turned out to be to squeal to the PM, unless the privates returned the money to the Swedish Government.

The trial was more interesting to me than any of the more spectacular happenings in the 60'es. The dark lounge suit guys had their pants down during the entire trial (half monty) and yet had the nerve to lie throughout all of it - a rock steady picture added by Sjolander to our common understanding of the world. I wish someone would paint it, remember pants down.

Of course, Ture Sjolander was completely acquitted and was awarded a compensation for the months spent unjustly in police custody. The private eyes were neatly fired and Sjolander was not assassinated. However, cognoscenti and literati in Sweden would say "no smoke without a fire" and a leper was once again (voluntarily) exiled. But, you know, if you have not spent a month or two in jail, you're not a real artist.

Had he lived in the 18th century, Ture Sjolander would have died in front of a firing squad already as a young man. Had he lived in the 19th century, he would have slowly wasted away in a dungeon. But since we are talking about the 20th century, he was only crucified a couple of times - and has resurrected himself by recreating himself. In spite of all this, Sjolander says: "I am not art. You are! I am just your tool - mirror."


Aapo Saask 2004-09-13


The Artist that invented Computer Animation

Aapo Saask on the artist Ture Sjolander



On an island aptly named Magnetic Island off the coast of Australia, a Swedish artist lives in exile. Just like so many others in today's media-landscape, he was first praised and then brought to dust. However, he has left a lasting imprint on the world. As early as the 1960's, he made the first electronic animation. Had he been an inventor, he would have been celebrated as a genius today, but because he is a predecessor in the world of art, things are different. In that world, the great ones often have to die before they are recognized.

We all know how Disney's famous cartoons were made: thousands of drawings, filmed in sequence. Even today some films are made this way. However, electronic animation has opened up a new world within the film industry and it has also made computer games and countless graphic solutions possible in business and science.

Pixar, which used to be part of Lucasfilm and then sold to Steve Jobs in the lat 1980's, made the first completely computer animated film called "Andre and Wally B" in 1983. The first feature length fully animated movie was Toy Story from 1995. It was made by Pixar and distributed by Disney. Disney had already started to use computer animation in Little Mermaid from 1989, and then on through Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, etc In those fantastic movies the pictures were however first drawn on paper and then scanned into computers for painting and cleanup and superimposition over painted backgrounds.  

Decades earlier, in 1965, Ture Sjolander’s electronically manipulated images were broadcasted by the Swedish Television (SVT). Among other things, Ture Sjolander was experimenting with the question of how much the portrait of a person could be changed before it was unrecognizable, something which has pioneered the amazing morph-technique that is used today.

Gene Youngblood, who, alongside with Marshall McLuchan, is the most celebrated media-philosopher of today, devoted a whole chapter in his book Expanded Cinema, 1970, (Pre face by Buckminster-Fuller) to the experiments of the SVT. Expanded cinema means transgression of conventions as well as mind-expanding transgressions and new definitions. Sjolander’s broadcasts were not technically sophisticated, but they were ground-breaking.

The film mentioned by Youngblood  is "Monument" (1968) by Ture Sjolander and Lars Weck. The other earlier televised pioneering animation were "TIME" (1965/66) by Ture Sjolander and Bror Wikstrom, and later "Space in the Brain" (1969) by Ture Sjolander, Bror Wikstrom, Sven Hoglund and Lasse Svanberg. Whereas most of the modern-day artists fade into oblivion, Ture Sjolander has found his place in the art history by the making of those films.

Ture, a lad from the northern city of Sundsvall, had instant success with his opening exhibition at the Sundsvalls Museum 1961. He moved to Stockholm in the beginning of the 1960's. At an exhibition in 1964 at Karlsson Gallery his imagery upset the public so much that the gallery immediately became the trendiest place for young artists in Stockholm.

In 1968, he created another scandal, when the film "Monument" was televised in most European countries. For a couple of years, Ture Sjolander was celebrated in France, Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA. In Sweden there was a lot of jealousy. The Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Sweden, to name a few, bought his works, but the techniques he worked with were expensive and after a few years, he found himself without resources. Instead he started to work with celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. They taught him that exile – mental and physical - is the only way to escape destruction for a creative genius. He moved to Australia.

Ture Sjolander's works include photos, films, books, articles, textiles, tv-programs, video-installations, happenings, sculptures and paintings – all scattered around the Globe. Tracing will be a challenging and exciting task for a future detective/biographer and web-archaeologist's.

But mostly, his work consists of a life of questioning and creation. This is what sets him aside as one of the great artists of the 20th century.

Another forerunner in the art world, the internationally celebrated Swedish composer Ralph Lundsten, says in an interview in the magazine SEX, 5, 2004: "In those days (the 19th century), a painting could create a revolution. Today people look idly at all the thousands of exhibitions that there are.’ Hmm. Oh, really. How clever he is’, and they yawn… If I were a visual artist, and if my ambition was to create something new, I would devote myself to the possibilities of the computer."

In 1974, Sherman Price of Rutt Electrophysics, wrote to the Swedish Television Company (SVT): "Video Synthesis is becoming a prominent technique in TV production here in the United States, and I think it will be interesting to give credit to your broadcasting system and personnel for achieving this historic invention."

He was referring to Ture Sjolander's revolutionary work in the 1960's. No one at the SVT could at that time imagine the importance that this innovation would have for television, and hereby lost a lead position in the computer-development business.

Amongst the younger generation of computer animators, few know that they have a Swedish predecessor. Many engineers were probably working away in their cellars in those days, trying to do the same thing, but Sjolander was the first person to show his results on the air. If any of you would like to have a look at the Godfather of animation, you can find a glimpse of him by googling.

He did not seek to patent his inventions and he has made no money from it. However, he has made it to the history books as one of the great precursors of art - and perhaps also of technology - of the 20th century.

For the past decades, Ture Sjolander has mostly lived in Australia, but he has also worked in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea and China.

After a couple of decades of silence, Sjolander's groundbreaking work was shown at Fylkingen, the avant guard media and music hide out in Stockholm in the spring of 2004.

In the autumn of 2004, some of his recent acrylic paintings on canvas were exhibited at the Gallery Svenshog outside of Lund, Sweden. This was to commemorate the forty years that have gone by since his last (scandalous) exhibition at Lunds Konsthall. Many artists take a pleasure in provoking the established art world. Ture Sjolander also provokes the rest of the world.


Aapo Saask



TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN  WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 1991------------------------------------------TOPICS-----------------PAGE 5
Changes needed before we measure up to this Swede's expectations.
The man who would be Mayor
by Mary Vernon
Ture Sjolander is eager to become a citizen of Australia - but he rejects anything to do with Britain or the Queen.
"I love Australia, my greatest concern is that Australians don't love it enough. As soon it is possible to become a citizen of Australia without becoming a subject of the Queen then I will seize the opportunity" he said.
In the meantime ex-artist Ture, 54, will keep his Swedish passport and keep hoping for the social changes he sees as vital for Australia in general and for Townsville i particular.
"I am tired of art, painting has no relevance in this modern age" said Sjolander, whose work is exhibited in Sweden's National Gallery, Museum of Modern Art and other international galleries.
"All of society has embraced technology, to improve performance and to reach as many people as possible except for the artistic world. It is blinkered and tied to the principle of one-off paintings and limited edition prints.
"Perhaps it is still relevant in the Third World countries which have no access to technology but in the Western World  it is finished. It is like making only one hand-written copy of a book".
Ture believes that the art establishment, the galleries and curators are perpetuating an anachronism and he wants no part of it. His plan is to change the world - well, Australia at any rate.
He recently sponsored a public competition to find a new name for the combined city of Townsville/Thuringgova. The winner of the $500 prize was Don Talbot of Cranbrook whose suggestion was "Queensland City".
"There are many things I would like to see in Australia," he said. "We must throw off the British colonial system. The majority of Australians are not of Anglo Saxon origin and they do not want to be part of the British system. Having the British queen as the queen of Australia is ridiculous.
"And the constitution of Australia - it is based on the Magna Charta and it is not appropriate to Australia today. " We must embrace multiculturalism and on that foundation build a strong, self-sufficient country like America. "The minority cannot lead the majority. I believe that on the declaration of the Republic of Australia most of those 700.000 who now hold permanent resident visas, like me, would flock to become citizens."
He first came to Australia 1982 when he visited all the capital cities and the outback and begane his love affaier witk this country.
His biggest shock on that first trip was meeting the great Australian mateship tradition and completely misinterpreting it.
"I had only recently arrived in the country, I was in Canberra and I was thirsty. I found a bar and went in, but when I saw it was full of about 200 men drinking together and no woman I turned round and hurried out. I thought it was the biggest homosexual club I had ever seen"
He laughs now over his mistake, but still believes we must let go our convict past, in which he thinks the mateship tradition is rooted, to grow and expand in a truly Australian way.
After his first trip he come back again on his way to a film project in Papua Guinea. He met his future wife, Maria, a Filipino-born Australian in Sydney and, after tidying up his affairs in Sweden he arrived to settle and marry her in Australia in 1988.
"We came to Magnetic Island for our honeymoon and liked Townsville so much we stayed."
Although they have now separated, Ture continues to live in Townsville with his 20-month-old son, Matu because he thinks it is an ideal place.
When he first arrived, he found that people were much friendlier if they thought he was a tourist. They would welcome him and offer help. If he said he lived here, their concern and interest shut of immediately.
"S I started to pretend that I was a tourist and people in shops and buses and taxis were  extremely friendly. When I saw the same person again I would tell them I was back again on holiday."
Ture has abandoned this game now and hopes for a political future.
His concerns are many and he is passionate about them all. Ture Sjolander not one to remain uncommitted even though some of his views may seem contradictory.
On the one hand he is concerned about over-developement of Townsville. He feels that it is a good size now and double the population, as some developers have promised to do would destroy the lifestyle many find attractive.
"We don't want another Brisbane or Sydney here. Europe is full of cities which have followed this route and have been ruined by over-development and over-industrialism.
"We don't want that to happen here".
He believes it would be preferable to spread developement around among the various North Queensland centres, so that all can grow a little , but not too much.
But on the other hand he is keen to see developement on Palm Island.
" I believe that Palm Island could be a great tourist tourist attraction. It is so naturally beautiful, and so close to the reef. "We should negotiate with the community there to build up tourism, to build a resort, maybe to stage an annual festival there. " It is a great resource and on which is not being used".
While he waits for the republic and his chance at Australian citizenship, Ture spends his time caring for his small son. "I have a single parent's allowance, which let me stay home and look after Matu. Besides that, I have royalties from my books and artworks which are on public display in Sweden. " Under Swedish law, artworks are treated the same way as music and books here. If they are on show royalties are paid to the artists for the privilege"
Papers  from the "World Conference on Culture", at Hasselby Castle  in Stockholm Sweden 1998.
The following text was written in 1973


For the creation of paintings, works of graphic art, free-standing sculptures and reliefs there is a fairly limited number of materials and techniques; these have changed relatively little during the last 300 years.


Even though new materials and methods have developed, the artistic techniques in the areas of painting, graphic arts and sculpture have kept their traditional character. A painting on canvas today has a technical structure largely similar to that of a seventeenth century painting.


The possibility of giving pictorial expression to the artist's message is however not tied to traditional methods. For the majority of people in the industrial countries, television, video newspapers and advertising have become the dominant transmitters of pictures and visual images. Television and video in particular have come to extend more and more widely through the global development of distribution systems, and are frequently used as a medium for other art forms, such as film, theatre and pictorial arts.


In this context it should be emphasised that it is journalists, above all, who have been recruited to these areas and who have therefore had an opportunity of exploiting the particular and specialised resources which television and video have at their disposal. The fact that pictorial artists occupy a subordinate position would seem partly to be connected with the fact that art schools still limit their educational role to the traditional creation of static images.




The work of artistic/technical development presupposes that artists have access to specialised technical studio equipment.


Television has been in existence now for almost 50 years. During this period a significant number of cultural programmes have been made by artists. Very rarely, however, have these artists produced works directly intended/designed for this medium. Although television per se is a pictorial medium, it has primarily been used to transmit words. The stress has been laid on 'tele' or the transporting/transmitting aspects of the medium, and comparatively little attention has been paid to the conceptual element of 'vision'; that is to say those aspects having to do with the language of the images themselves.


If one looks back on the history of art and makes comparisons with the visual aesthetics used in television today, one is struck be the fact that the greater proportion of all television production today uses visual aesthetics dating back to the 16th century. As an example we may mention the aesthetics of Cubism: this implied a visualisation of several different points of view being given simultaneous expression and coinciding with the discoveries by modern physics of Time and Space being only relative and not absolutely fixed structures.


Cubism dates back more than 50 years, and yet, in a television programme a few years ago it would be unthinkable to use Cubist visual aesthetics.





This situation is however changing rapidly at the present moment. During the last decades or so, a series of international artists have initiated the construction of elctronic image laboratories, where they pursue the development of new art forms through experimental techniques.


Those internatinal artists who have access to modern electronic technology have been given the opportunity of realising, by a creative process, their ideas concerning a truly visually-oriented language. Artists with many different points of view and modes of expression have begun working with computer/electronics/video, taking their point of departure in their previous knowledge and training. Painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, composers, choreographers and others have approached this medium with their own particular talents and creative methodology and all have contributed to media development in the area of television film and video and to a visual language characterised by greater awareness and creativity.


International electronic music studios have conducted its work of development in music for nearly 30 years, those artists who have been engaged in similar work within the visual arts field are mostly still obliged to manage completely without any corresponding access to electronic equipment.


In a number of countries considerable sums have been invested, for many years, in facilities for practical experimentation in both the visual and audio areas.






The creation of electronic images (sometimes called 'video art'), is an artistic development of visual language. Modern 'electronics' can convert sound vibrations into visual structures, and image components into patterns of sound, thereby giving visual expression to basic processes such as growth and change. The essential definition of 'video art' is based on the manipulation of video signals. Apart from the use of video to realise a series of images in a temporal sequence, artists can also exploit television as a physical, sculptural, object. At galleries they make 'installations' or 'environments' by placing one or more monitors or giant screen projections in specific, related positions. Video cameras, too, 'incorporate' the spectator into the work. In this way, it is possible to explore perceptions of what is seen, as well as the psychology of seeing, in a living context.


An electronic image laboratory, however, should not be limited to video. Another related area is the so-called computer animation (computer-assisted and/or computer-generated images). This technique is based on advanced forms of programming and opens up hiterto unimagined possibilities of free-image composition.


With the aid of electronics and laser the static image, too, will have an interesting development in the fields of painting and graphic arts. Attempts in this direction have been demonstrated in the form of 'video paintings', or more precisely, electronic painting and computer art.






Those who claim that we live today in a visually oriented culture are probably word-blind. Today's visual art and visual media, with the possible exception of painting, still bear a master-slave relationship to elite literature and popular journalism - in the beginning was the Word. The word is power. People who can express themselves well and forcefully in speech and writing, more or less automatically achieve positions of power... while people who express themselves well in pictures, must often support themselves through stipends and other grants.


The producers of words dominate the cultural columns of newspapers, control official cultural policy and the most important visual media. And generally exert a damnably important influence on society. The arts in Sweden are infested by the speech chorus and the clatter of typewriters. Authors write screenplays and become film directors. Journalists become television producers (or programme directors) and make TV-films. Our entire culture is beset by word-producers. Authors, journalists, investigators, letter-writers, polemicists and critics. Who, in fact, knows anything about pictures? And why do we understand so little about visual semantics? Photography and motion pictures have existed for 100 years, television for 50. Despite this, pictures have not attained more than a purely illustrative function. Why? Probably, because most of our pictures are created by Word-people. In fact, roughly half the items on TV today could just as well be broadcast on radio instead.


Ture Sjölander 1973

By Sonia Ulliana
in Townsville
ARTIST Ture Sjolander will spend $10.000 of taxpayers' money raising the ire of north Queenslanders.
Mr Sjolander, of Townsville, a Swedish expatriate, says he will expose the harsh realities of the social issues affecting the area i a series of two-minutes segments of "electronic art" to be aired weekly on television.
he will buy the air-time with a State Government arts grant.
"This is not a paint brush, it is a power tool," Mr Sjolander said.
"I will criticise all the things that people ignore or don't want to think about to make them aware through art. "So much art doesn't touch people anymore, or has no relevance."
Mr Sjolander, a passionate and outspoken man, has been involved in art from painting to videoproduction, since 1962.
He has written several internationally published books, including Garbo, a pictorial biography of movie star Greta Garbo, and was commissioned by the 70s Swedish rock phenomenon Abba to create a tapestry.
Mr Sjolander was also commissioned by silent screen star Charlie Chaplin to produce an art portfolio.
In Townsville he is seen as a controversial figure.
He recently held a public competition to create a new name for the combination Townsville city and Thuringgova shire under the Electorial and Administrative Review Committee's amalgamation recomendations.
The winner was Don Talbot, who received $500 for his suggestion of "QUEENSLAND CITY".
The competition provoked debate around the town.
With the help of his Creative Development Grant, Mr Sjolander hopes to tackle a host of controversial issues; Townsville General Hospital's Ward 10B - subject of the Carter inquiry into the treatment of mentally ill patients, violence among Aborigines on Palm Island, X-rated videos, tattoos, politics and religion.
"These are all the things that happen in this area and they should be expressed in art to reflect the area," Mr Sjolander said.
He believes art in the modern world should be expressed using technology and says that paintings are out-dated.
He has even devised a plan to exhibit art on the walls of Townsville Airport terminal "for all the world to see".
The large vacant walls in the terminal should be used to hanf paintings and tapestries, and sculptures could adorn the flight deck, the first-class lounge and the departure lounge, he said.
His proposal suggest that the artworks be acquired on a six-montly basis and artists may have them on for sale.
"Art can be anything at all," Mr Sjolander said.
"So there is no limit to what you can do."

Text from
Townsville Bulletin
Friday, November 29, 1991
(page 5)
Local artist paints picture of a unique airport environement
A PILOT project to display art on the vacant wall spaces at the Townsville airport has been proposed by local artist Ture Sjolander.
Acting Townsville airport manager Phil Roben said the suggestion was interesting and a meeting to discuss the matter would be held next week. " I believe such a display could complement the terminal very well," he said.
Mr Sjolander believes that as the airport is the first point of contact for businessmen, domestic and overseas tourists and returning residents, there was no reason why the airport itself should not become an attraction.
"I propose that the large vacant wall spaces be used for a semi-permanent art display which could include a number of large paintings and tapestries. " In addition to this, a small number of free standing sculptured piece could be easily be accomodated."
Mr Sjolander believed the flight deck, the first class lounge and the departure lounge were other attractive areas where graphic and smaller size artworks could be displayed.
"These could be accomplished with minimal installation of lighting and hanging equipment," he said.
"The pilot project for Townsville airport can be realised with very little outlay, mutually benefiting the professional contemporary artists of North Queensland and the Federal Airports Corporation".
From this experiment could evolve the creation of a unique airport environement which could become the blueprint for others, Mr Sjolander said. He also envisaged the formation of an art investment consultancy group under the airport corporation for future interstate exhibition exchange.
Support for the venture has been pledged by Perc Tucker Gallery director Ross Searle and artist  and James Cook University art teacher Anne Lord, both of whom have expressed wish to join Mr Sjolander on the selection committee for the first exhibition.

Men in Business - Advertiser, August 3, 1989
Sjolander a pioneering artist
Mr Ture Sjolander's artistic work represents more than one technique, from traditional tapestry work to visualisation of electronic computing.
He is a pioneer in video-art. His work contributed to the development of the video-synthesizer.
Mr Sjolander has earned an international reputation for his multimedia art work since his debut in 1960.
"Mr Sjolander has also served as a member of the board of the Swedish Artists Society," former Minister for Cultural Affairs in Sweden, Mr Bengt Goransson.
"He is represented at the Museum of Modern Art, Stcokholm, the Swedish Government, the City of Stockholm and the Royal Fund for Swedish Culture have awarded him grants for his work."
He received the top grant for scientific art research from the Royal Swedish Academy of Art.
Mr Sjolander has produced television programs for Swedish Television including The Role of Photography, Time, Monument, and Space in the Brain.
He is skilled in all kinds of printing techniques and is also a professional photographer.
Mr Sjolander has written several internationally published books.
For example he wrote a pictorial biography of Greta Garbo titled: "GARBO", for one of the largest publisher in America, Harper and Row (Harper&Collins) and the book had world-wide distribution.
He initiated work on a pictorial essay on Charlie Chaplin. The dummy work was purchased by Charles Chaplin and the finished work was titled "My Life in Picture", 1973.
He was also commissioned by Chaplin to produce an art portfolio which was signed by both Chaplin and Mr Sjolander.
Mr Sjolanderwas commissioned by the Swedish band ABBA, to produce graphic prints and a tapestry used in the sponsorship of the 1977 America's Cup.
He established an electronic picture laboratory in Stockholm, VIDEO-NU, for artistic research and was the administrator of the laboratory from 1980-1986.
Mr Sjolander has created monumental sized interior artwork for large industrial complexes in Sweden using various techniques.
He has had a large number of seminars and exhibitions throughout Europe and he participated in the Fifth Biennale in Paris.
He has given lectures throughout world on art and technology, includinga lecture last year at the Australian Film Institute in Sydney.
One of the topics of his lectures is possible establishment of multicultural communication by satellite.
This would include a three week international TV high tech and arts festival, the commersialisation of peace via satellite and the formation of an internatinal lobby group to connect all Television systems of the world.
He is presently involved with negotiations with Uplinger Enterprises (USA), the organisation which organised Live Aid and Sport Aid, about establishing an annual three week satellite link up.
Campaign co-cordinator of One World or None, Janet Hunt said the idea was marvelous. "The idea is a logical extension as we move into the 21st century and we certainly support it." Jane Hunt said.
Mr Sjolander has conducted research into Townsville's history and the city council have received a proposal to revise the history of the city.
His research has shown the first European to land in Townsville arrived 49 years earlier then previously believed.
The discovery may be celebrated with a special Townsville Day and a 220 year celebration in 1990.
He is also skilled in radio productions and TV production.
Mr Sjolander is interested in establishing an international artist's centre in Townsville to display exhibitions from international artists.
He is a member of the Perc Tucker Regional Art Gallery and believes i Fusion Business.
He is neither political nor religious but believes in authentic humanity.

No one can beat
Yahoo Image Search



Intermedia Artist




"this artist is already well represented in our collection"

David Elliott

Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. October 6, 1999.




1981 - 1982.

Elected Secretary and Member of the Board of the National Association of Professional Swedish Visual Artists - K.R.O - Konstnärernas Riks Organisation Stockholm - with over 6.000 members.

1979 - 1986.

Elected as the first Director and Chairperson of the Board, while Curator/ Administrator of the former Swedish National Artist Organisation, VIDEO-NU, Stockholm, an Art Laboratory for new electronic technology financially assisted by the Swedish Government and the Stockholm City Council ( 200 individual and 15 corporate members)







Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden.

National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.

Gothenburg's Art Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Sundsvalls Museum, Sundvall, Sweden.

Family of Charles Chaplins private collection Switzerland.

Swedish National Television collection Stockholm, Sweden.

The Australian Embassy in Beijing, China.

The City Council of Changchun, China.

James Cooks University, North Queensland, Australia

Qingdao Municipal Museum, China.


'97 China Changchun City, International Invitation Exhibition of Sculpture - Permanent installation of two-of-a kind, 3 meters marble-sculptures, at the Culture Square.

Alvdalens County collection, Sweden. Stone of Alvdalskvartsit.

County Council, Falun City, Sweden. Stone of kvartsit.



Thirty public artworks in Sweden and in addition; international corporate and private

Collections in USA, Australia,Europe and China.









The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts - Top Project Grant 1975 for pioneering elec-

tronic Artworks since 1966 and for the development of art&technology, 'video-art'.


The Ministry for the Arts, Development Grant, Oueensland State Government, Australia, 1992.


The Royal Fund for Swedish Culture - Video&Television installation/experiment, 1966.

The Swedish Government Ministry for Arts, Project Grant for New Media Experiment1962.

Stockholm City Council, Department for Arts, Project Grant - experimental photo- graphics - lightpainting, 1962.





"Digitala Pionjarer", by Gary Svensson, Linkopings Studies in Arts and Science, Linkopings University, Sweden. Publisher: Carlsson Bokforlag, 2000.ISBN 91 72 03 992 2. ISSN 0282-9800.

211 pages. Sjolander pages: 64-65, 104- 113, 129.


"New Media in Late 20th-Century Art", by Dr. Michael Rush, Harward University, Thames&Hudson , Publisher 1999. Pp. 92 -93 of 224 pages. ISBN 0-500-20329-


 The Collection Of The Qingdao International Art Exhibiton - China 1999. Catalogue; pp. 11, 296, 316. Published by Chinese Artist's Organisation. ISBN 7-5305-1101-7

Art and Australia ( June 1992 Winter/issue, 3 full pages ) - Fine Art Press Pty Ltd. Australia.

The Courier Mail, Queensland, Australia. Saturday, January 25, 1992; 'Artist to fine tune the relevance of art', by Sonia Ulliana.

Expanded Cinema (Book) by Gene Youngblood. Introduction by R. Buckminster Fuller.

Studio Vista Ltd. 1970. (Pp. 331 - 334).

Essere (Vol. 4 1968) by Pierrluigi Albertoni.Tribunale di Milan, 'La Mec-Art' by Pierre Restany (pp. 13, 15 17, 64, 65)

Video (Monthly Magazine - January 1979) Linkhouse Publication Group Pty Ltd. UK, 'Video Art at New Castle' by Mandy McIntyre (pp.32-33)

Konstrevy (Volume 1) 1963 'Photographic Development' by Kurt Bergengren. (Pp. 10 - 13, and original cover art: 'Ready Maid/Pop Art'. Publisher; Bonniers Bokforlag Sweden.

National Swedish Encyclopaedia - ( 'Focus' ) 1967, Publisher; Bonniers Sweden. See 'S' for, Sjölander Ture.




An innumerable number of articles in Europe, Australia, China and USA have been published as well as radio and television programs (e.g. catalogue text for installations/exhibitions) by writers as: Pierre Restany, Paris, Öivind Fahlström, N.Y., Kristian Romare, Belgium, Prof. Björn Hallström, Stockholm, Pontus Hulten, Bonn, etc. etc .

Available upon request.






Sundsvalls Museum, 1961, (regional Art Gallery Sweden) - Light paintings. Debut. Solo

Exhibition. Catalogue foreword by Oyvind Fahlstrom.



White Chapel Art Gallery - London, UK. 1963. Light paintings. Selected group exhibition.


 Lunds Konsthall (famous Regional Fine Art Gallery in South Sweden, Lund City) 1965.

Simultaneously installation of an outdoor exhibition in Stockholm on billboard space of Monumental size. Solo installations.


The 5th Biennale of Paris, France 1967. Selected group exhibition. Catalogue foreword by Pierre Restany.


 Gallerie Apollinaire - Milan, Italy 1968, Invited to exhibit with contemporary all-

Italian artists. Selected group exhibition.


 Serpentine Gallery, London, UK. 1975. Selected group exhibition


 The Galleries, Biddick Farm Arts Center, Washington Tyne and Wear, New Castle. UK. 1976 and 1979. Selected group exhibition/installation incl. Bill Viola, Ed Emshwiller etc.

Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm Sweden, 1981. Electronic Art, International Exhibition incl. seminars. Selected group exhibition.


 International Video Art exhibition KULTURHUSET Stockholm Sweden 1982. Selected

group exhibition incl. Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, etc etc



Museum of Modern Art - Stockholm Sweden, 1985. 'Swedish Contemporary Art' - Six months exhibition. Selected group exhibition.


 Ethnographic Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, 1987 and 1988. Video/multimedia installa-tion; 'Body Paintings Papua New Guinea' - 'The South Pacific Festival of Art', Solo installation.


 Gallery Umbrella, North Queensland, Australia, 1991. 'Space - the Image of Wealth 1'.

Solo installation.


 1997 - China International Sculpture Invitation Exhibition in Changchun, Jilin province. 'Peace, Friendship and Spring'

Group exhibition. Foreign artists from 10 nations. Permanent installations of stone sculptures at the Culture Square in the City of Changchun.


1999, CHINA, Qingdao, " Trancentury China International Masterpieces Exhibition '99, August. Paintings. Qingdao Municipal Museum.







Paris - France

October 31, 1968


Catalogue text for Ture Sjolander




" Je ne connais pas Ture Sjolander. En automne 1967 un long voyage en Amerique du Sud ne m'a permis de visiter la 5 `eme Biennale de Paris, ou il exposait, qu'a l'extreme fin de la manifestation. Mieux vaut tard que jamais. J'ai ete frappe par les oeuvres de Sjolander. Par leur esprit vraiment moderne. Par soon instinct sur, son usage poetigue des donnees technologiques des mass media: une liberation iconographique au niveau de la technologie de l'information, du langage de la communication de masse…


Elle nous concerne tous, elle est plus historique que l'histoire, plus sexuelle que le sexe, plus criminelle que le crime, plus objective que n'importe quel processus d'objectivation. On atteint la notion d'une super-

Expressivite de synthese, liee aux phenomenes d'alteration et de transformation des structures visuelles initiales. Cette alchimie de la vision a trouve sa pierre philosophale. Le plomb des definitions theorigues et standard de l'image animee s'est mue en vif-argent: le mercure des distorsion libres.


En creant une distance optique par rapport au phenomene mental

d'enregistrement de l'image, l'enterprise de Ture Sjolander apparait comme un magistrature, le cure d'hygiene de la vision. Elle bouleverse nos habitudes de perception reflexe, elle stimule notre conscience et notre gout, elle nous associe au destin structurel de l'image animee.


Dans une societe en plein mutation, ou le peril majeur consiste sans doute dans la mecanisation des esprits et la generalisation d'une passivite sensorielle, d'un modernisme-reflexe saturant l'individu, l'enterprise collective de Ture Sjolander, associant l'art et la technique dans le but d'assurer la survie poetique de notre vision, est une enterprise pleinement humaine, que dis-je, humaniste au sens le plus moderne du terme "


Pierre Restany, Paris, oct. 1968





In the short history of video animation the Swedish artists TURE SJOLANDER and BROR WIKSTROM are the pioneers. Their television art programme ' TIME ' (1965 - 1966) seems to be the first distortion of video-scan-line rasters achieved by applying tones from wave form generators.


For almost ten years they have been using electronic image-making equipment for a non-traditional statement. It must be kept in mind, however that SJOLANDER and WIKSTROM have a traditional and solid artistic background. Howard Klein likens the relationship between the video artist and his hardware to that between Ingres and the graphite pencil. It should be added that real artists like SJOLANDER and WIKSTROM have a natural relationship to any image-making equipment. In that respect they differ from most cameramen and tape makers and they may come back some day as pioneers in other fields of art.

In fact they have already surpassed the limits of video and TV using the electronic hardware to produce pictures which can be applied as prints, wall paintings and tapestries.


They have generously provided new possibilities to other artists, they are not working alone on a monument of their own.

It is significant that the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts has decided to support SJOLANDER and WIKSTROM financially.


Professor Dr. Bjorn Hallstrom

Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Art.

Stockholm - 1976





 Fahlstrom about Sjolander - 1961

We live at a time when borders between the art forms are constantly being redrawn or abolished. Poets arrange their poems as pictorial compositions or record spoken sequences of sound which can hardly be distinguished from musique concrète. Composers are able to build a complete composition around the manipulation of a spoken voice. Artists sometimes create pictures by striking off newspaper photographs or mixing conglomerates of discarded objects and painted areas into something which is neither picture nor sculpture. Puppet theatre is performed by setting mobiles in motion in the constantly changing light effects on a stage.

The border between photography and painting is no longer clear, either, and it is easy to understand why this is so. Tinguély, the creator of mobiles, started out by making a form of reliefs with moving parts, powered by a machine placed at the back of them. After a while Tinguély began to wonder why he could not equally well show the play of cog wheels and driving belts at the rear and let "machine" and "shapes" become a united whole.

Similarly, some photographers have asked themselves why the action of light on photo paper and the development baths could not become a creative process comparable with the exposure of a motif — why camera work and darkroom work could not become one.

Among those photographers we find Ture Sjölander. Among those photo graphic artists, as he calls them, who feel dissatisfied with the dialectic of the traditional photographer’s relationship to his motif: when he searches for his motif, he is the sovereign master of it, choosing and rejecting it —. At the very moment that he touches the trigger, he has become enslaved to the motif, without any possibility (other than in terms of light gradation) to do what a painter does — reshape, exclude, and emphasize in the motif.

This subjection to the motif does not have to be disrupted by eliminating the motif. The photographer simply needs to remove the limits to what is permitted and what is not allowed. To let the copy of a photo remain in the water bath for an hour is allowed (if you want to keep the motif). But leaving it there for a couple of days is the right thing as well (if you want to let the motif diffuse into deformations soft and silky as fur). Scratching with a needle or a razor blade is making accidents with scratches into a virtue — and so on.

In addition, there is the chance of manipulating a figurative or non-figurative motif by copying different pictorial elements into it, by enlargements which elevate previously imperceptible structures to the visible level, even up to monumental dimensions. The tension between scratching lines of light into a developed (black) negative the size of a matchbox and enlarging it on the Agfa papers the size of a bed sheet. This is where the photographer has at his command tricks of his art which the painter lacks, or at any rate seldom uses.

But on the other hand, is the photographer able freely to experiment with the colour? Yes, he is — if he brushes paint on to the negative and makes a colour copy.

He may also, like Ture Sjölander, brush, pour, draw etc. on a photo paper — possibly with a background copied on to it — with water, developing or fixing sodium thiosulphite solutions, ferrocyanide of potassium and other liquids. In that case the result is a single, once-only, art work. In this way he is able to achieve a tempered and melting colour scale of white, sepia, ochre, thunder cloud grey, verdigris, silver and possibly also certain blue and red tones.

In this area, however, it seems everything still remains to be done — but one single photographer’s resources are not enough for the experiments to be conducted widely and in depth. Sweden has recently inaugurated its first studio of electronic music. When will photographers and painters be given the opportunity to explore this no-man’s-land between their time-honoured frontlines?

But can photography, in principle, be equal to painting? Is not the glossy, non-handmade character of the photo an obstacle? People have argued in a similar way about enamel work, but that technique is now recognised as totally and completely of a kind with the painted picture. If we adjust the focus of the "conventional painting concept" when we are looking at photo painting, we will perchance discover that in its singular immaterial quality it can possess new and suggestive value.

Öyvind Fahlström

Stockholm, 1961.


Translation from Swedish by Birgitta Sharpe






  1. "The role of Photography" Commissioned by the National Swedish Television year 1964. B/w. Multimedia/electronic experiment. 30 minutes. And an outdoor exhibition on giant bill board in the City of Stockhom plus indoors exhibitions at Lunds Konsthall and Gavle Museeum among other Gallerys. Represented as an installation 80 dia/slides projected on canvas purchased by Pontus Hulten at Moderna Museet Stockholm 1966.
  2. "TIME" - b/w, Commissioned by the National Swedish Television. Electronic paintings televised in September 1966. 30 minutes. A video synthesizer was temporarily built, in spite of the TV-technicians apprehension. (Same technical system was later used to create MONUMENT one year later, 1967.) See letters from RUTT ELECTROPHYSICS, NY, USA dated March 12, 1974, below *. "In principle this process is similar to methods used by Nam June Paik and others, some years later." Rutt&Etra . Nam June Paik visited Elektronmusic Studion in Stockholm July/August 1966 , during the Stockhom Festival; "Visions of the Present". Static pictures from TIME was demonstrated for Paik at this point in time. A rich documentation is available from the main news media in Sweden about "TIME". Parts of "TIME" was planned to be send via satellite to New York, but the American participants, E.A.T. - Billy Kluver and &, pulled out. (See E.A.T.s and Billy Kluver's biased USA history page from Aug. 1966) "TIME" is the very first 'videoart'-work televised as an ultimate exhibition/installation statement, televised at that point in 'time' for the reason to produce an historical record as well as an evidence of 'original' visual free art, made with the electronic medium - manipulation of the electronic signal - and 'exhibited/installed' through the televison, televised. Other important factors for the creation of TIME was our awareness of the fact that the "electron" was, at this Time, the smallest known particle and that all traditional visual art, up to this Time was created with light - material/colour reflecting the light - (lightpainting) and the description of our new concept should be "Electronic painting". Pontus Hulten and his associates launched the term "Machine" art as an attempt to describe the Time movement. Pierre Restany was using the term "Mec Art", later. The work was commenced early 1966. (Soundtrack by Don Cherry, USA) Paintings on canvass and paper was made from the static material, and in silk-screen prints, for a large numbers of Fine Arts Galleries and Museums 1966, ironically in a 'limited edition', signed and numbered by the artist; Ture Sjolander/Bror Wikstrom. (See National Museeum Stockholm, Sweden).
  3. "MONUMENT" - b/w. Electronic paintings televised in 5 European Nations; France, Italy, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, 1968. Monument reached an total audience of more than 150 miljon. The work surpassed the limits of "videoart" - a word first used in the beginning of 1970 - 73 - and was developed into an extended communication project, involving other visual artists, by invitations, multimedia artwork including the creation of tapestries, (Kerstin Olsson) silk/screen prints on canvass and paper - first edition, by Ture Sjolander/Lars Weck, posters, and an LP/Record Music, (Hansson&Karlsson) and some years later paintings on canvass, (Sven-Inge), and a book among other things, exhibited in several international Fine Arts Galleries. Catalogue text for Ture Sjolander by Pierre Restany, Paris Oct.31, 1968.

    Gene Youngbloods book "Expanded Cinema". 1970.


  5. "SPACE IN THE BRAIN" - 30 minutes. Televised 1969, in direct connection with the moonlanding project by NASA. in Swedish Television. Soundtrack by Hansson&Karlsson. First colour electronic original painting where the electronic signal where manipulated. Described in media as an Electronic Space Opera. Based on authentic material directly delivered from NASA. Space in the Brain was a creation dealing with the ; "space out there" - the space in our brains and the electronic space, (in television) Contemporary to Clarke's 2001, except that the Picture it self was scrutinized and the subject, and focused, in Space in the Brain. The Static material from the electronic paintings was worked out into other medias and materials; tapestrys made in France among other objects was made in large size, 3 x 2 meter, for Albany Corporation USA and for IBM, Sweden, as in "TIME" and "MONUMENT", see above.
  6. And a serie of international bestseller posters was produced, and world wide distributed, by Scan-Décor Upsala, Sweden.

"Man at the Moon". is the name of the LP Record.





Letter from: RUTT ELECTROPHYSICS, 21-29 West 4th Street, New Yourk,N.Y., 10012. March 12, 1974.

Signed by Sherman Price.


To: International Section of Swedish National Television, Stockholm, Sweden.


"I am writing a detailed magazine article about the history of video animation.

From literature avaiable I gather that a videofilm program, "MONUMENT", broadcast in Stockholm in January, 1968, was the first distortion of video scan-line rasters achieved by applying tones from wave form generators.

This is of such great importance - historically - that I would like to obtain more detailed documentation of the program and of the electronic circuitry employed to manipulate the video images.

I understand from your New York office that there may have been a brochure or booklet published about the program.

I will be happy to pay any expense for publications, photcopies or other documents about the program and its production -particulary with regard to the method of modulating the deflection voltage in the flying-spot telecine used.

"Video synthesis" is becoming a prominent technique in TV production here in the United States, and I think it will be interesting to give credit to your broadcasting system and personal for achieving this historic innovation."

Sherman Price


( A number of authentic documents/letters from this communications is avaliable)

No "detailed article" or even magazine was never reported or later presented after receiving the vital information from the Swedish Broadcating Company, by Rutt Electrophysics)




Letter from the Manager of


Stockholm, Septembre 11th 1967.


Dear Messrs Sjolander & Weck,


Having seen your interesting Stockholm exhibition of portraits of the King of Sweden made with advanced electronic techniques I have been struck by the connection between this new type of image creating and the music-and-light art presented by The Pink Floyd.


I think that your work could and should be linked with the music of The Pink Floyd in a television production, and I would like to suggest that we start arranging the practical details for such a production immedialtely. With all his experiences from filming in the USA and elsewhere I also feel that Mr. Lars Swanberg is the ideal man tp help us made the film.

Please get in touch as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Andrew King





following text was written by

the Swedish Art writer





electronic painting 1968




We create pictures. We form conceptions of all the objects of our experience. When talking to each other our conversation emerges in the form of descriptions. In that way we understand one another.


Instantaneous communication in all directions. Our world in television! The world in image and the image in the world: at the same moment, in the consciousness and in the eyes of millions.

The true multi-images is not substance but process-interplay between people.

"Photography freed us from old concepts", said the artist Matisse. For the first time it showed us the object freed from emotion.

Likewise satellites showed us for the first time the image of the earth from the outside. Art abandoned representation for the transformational and constructional process of depiction, and Marcel Duchamp shifted our attention to the image-observer relation.

That, too, was perhaps like viewing a planet from the outside. Meta-art: observing art from the outside. That awareness has been driven further. The function of an artist is more and more becoming like that of a creative revisor, investigator and transformer of communication and our awareness of them.

Multi-art was an attempt to widen the circulation of artist's individual pictures. But a radical multi-art should not, of course, stop the mass production of works of art: it should proceed towards an artistic development of the mass-image.

MONUMENT is such a step. What has compelled TURE SJOLANDER and LARS WECK is not so much a technical curiosity as a need to develop a widened, pictorially communicative awareness.

They can advance the effort further in other directions. But here they have manipulated the electronic transformations of the telecine and the identifications triggered in us by well-known faces, our monuments. They are focal points. Every translation influences our perception. In our vision the optical image is rectified by inversion. The electronic translation represented by the television image contains numerous deformations, which the technicians with their instruments and the viewers by adjusting their sets usually collaborate in rendering unnoticeable.

MONUMENT makes these visible, uses them as instruments, renders the television image itself visible in a new way. And suddenly there is an image-generator, which - fully exploited - would be able to fill galleries and supply entire pattern factories with fantastic visual abstractions and ornaments.

Utterly beyond human imagination.

SJOLANDER and WECK have made silkscreen pictures from film frames. These stills are visual. But with television, screen images move and effect us as mimics, gestures, convultions. With remarkable pleasure we sense pulse and breathing in the electronic movement. The images become irradiated reliefs and contours, ever changing as they are traced by the electronic finger of the telecine.

With their production, MONUMENT, SJOLANDER and WECK have demonstrated what has also been main-tained by Marshall McLuhan: that the medium of television is tactile and sculptural.

The Foundation for MONUMENT was the fact that television, as no other medium, draws the viewers into an intimate co-creativity. A maximum of identification - the Swedish King, The Beatles, Chaplin, Picasso, Hitler etc, - and a maximum of deformation.

A language that engages our total instinct for abstraction and recognition.

Vital and new graphic communication. A television Art.

Kristian Romare, Sweden 1968