Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 2:46 AM
I looked at your CD last week with
Woody and Steina.
We were all much impressed.
Your early work was artistically
beautiful and technically very interesting.
Thanks very much for sending it.

Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 1:48 AM


I would be pleased to have a CD of your early works. I would show them in
my classes on the history of video art. As for finding a host on the Web,
the only possibility I'm aware of is the Art and Science Laboratory (the
Vasulkas), and what they post on their site is not my decision but theirs.
I would certainly show your work to them.

Gene Youngblood
Moving Image Arts Department
College of Santa Fe
1600 St. Michael's Drive
Santa Fe, NM 87505  USA

absolute modernism
acute instincts
Pierre Restany
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."
- Pierre Restany

Mo Rothman
5 Eaton Place,
March 8, 1974
Mr. Ture Sjolander
Valhallavagen 147
S-115 31 Stockholm
Dear Ture:
I am sorry I was out when you called about Allan Stone, but I have heard nothing from his side and assume that he will eventually, and hopefully, come up with the sale of the portfolios. In the interim, I am formally requesting you to turn over to Bertil Ohlsson all of the canvasses that were made, including the one bering Charles Chaplin's signature. As you know, the canvasses were not included in our contract anf these are by special permission of the Chaplin's personally, so that I bear the moral, legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that these are not disposed of, loaned or in any way handled until such time as we get a formal offer for them which I can transmit to the Chaplins,  and then incorporate in our Master contract.
I would therefore feel far more comfortable if they were in Bertil Ohlsson's office, and would very much appreciate you complying with this request immediately.
With all good wishes
cc: Mr. Bertil Ohlsson
original letter typed on goatskin

Professor emeritus
 Ake Daun
wrote in the paper 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."


In the afternoon paper Expressen, Katja Walden wrote 1965 ;

"  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."

The publishing firm Nordisk Rotogravyr published a so-called expo-book, with pictures from the exhibition.
Erland Törngren wrote in the paper Arbetaren 1964 ;

"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 Malmo, Sjolander asked:

 "Why do pictures have to be translated into words?"

On July 6, 1965, Bengt Olvång wrote in the morning 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 the morning paper 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 the morning paper 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!"

Alf Nordström
of the morning paper Dagens Nyheter wrote 1964:
 "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
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."





Professor Dr. Bjorn Hallstrom, TIME, 1976
Öyvind Fahlström, about Sjolander, 1961
TIME, 1966-69
Letter from: RUTT ELECTROPHYSICS, March 12, 1974
Letter from the Manager of THE PINK FLOYD, 1967
Kristian Romare, Monument, 1968
Tapes available

Professor Dr. Bjorn Hallstrom, TIME, 1976
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


Öyvind Fahlström, Catalogue text about Ture 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 Amachine" and Ashapes" 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 C 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 C. 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 C 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 C 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 C 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 C possibly with a background copied on to it C 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 C 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 Aconventional 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

  Letter from: RUTT ELECTROPHYSICS, 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.

AVideo 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


Letter from the Manager of THE PINK FLOYD, 1967

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 


Kristian Romare, Monument, 1968

The following text was written by the Swedish Art Writer KRISTIAN ROMARE 1968.

MONUMENT     electronic painting 1968 by TURE SJOLANDER/LARS WECK
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 driben 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 maintained 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 ( from the book MONUMENT)

"The Role of Photography" 1965  (17 minutes)
"TIME" 1966
"SPACE in the BRAIN" 1969
(approx. time all together: 50 minutes)

Dr. Gary Svensson on Ture Sjolander


"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
Stockholm Sweden 1998.
The following text was written in



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

Ture Sjolander (b. 1937) has become known as an experimental photographer and avant-garde artist. He made his artistic debut in 1961, with a solo exhibition at the Sundsvall Museum. Unlike many artists presented here, there is some documentation on Sjolander. In the magazine Konstrevy (1:1963), there is detailed presentation of him, as well as in Aktuell Fotografi (12:1977). The earlier presentation was written after the exhibition at the Gallery Observatiorium with Lars Hillersberg och Ulf Rahmberg, at a time when Sjolander has just established himself as an artist. In the same year, he participated in a group exhibition at the White Chapel Art Gallery in London, and also qualified himself for the Swedish Government Artist Grant (Statens Konstnärsstipendium) and the Stockholm City Cultural Grant (Stockholms Stads Kulturstipendium). The article from 1977, was written after Sjolander had designed a big tapestry based on his own ABBA-photographs, for Polar Music AB.

Sjolander was a pioneer in what came to be known as "new media". In his preface to the exhibition in Sundsvall, Öyvind Fahlström wrote: To the photo-graphic artists, as he calls those who feel dissatisfied with the dialectics of the traditional photographer's relationship with his motif: when he looks around for the motif, he is its superb master, in command of every choice. But at the exact moment when he presses the button, he has already turned into a slave of the motif, and he no longer has the painter's freedom to rearrange, exclude or accentuate anything in his picture - other than in a strictly limited way. (From Öyvind Fahlström's preface to the exhibition in 1961, "On the photo-graphic art of Ture Sjolander".)

In 1964, much was written about Ture Sjolander in connection with his exhibition "You have been photographed", at the Karlsson Gallery (19-24 - 11-13). It is likely that this controversial exhibition gave the gallery its place as one of Stockholm's most influential galleries in the domains of political art, as well as in sub- and counterculture. At the time of Sjolander's exhibition, many people (among them Ulf Hård af Segerstad) voiced criticism against this seemingly dadaistic version of photography. In the same year, another acquaintance from Sundsvall, Sven Inge de Monér, exhibited his works at the Gallery Karlsson. Along with another artist, Bror Wikström, Sjolander and de Moner began working together on various projects in the 1960's. The three men were interested in electronic experiments and Sjolander's contacts with the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation proved crucial. Sjolander does not want to describe the 1960's as a revolutionary time, but rather as a re-evolutionary one. Later on, he has explained how he, as an artist, tried to work with different types of techniques. An example of this can be seen in the films Time and Monument. They have been broadcasted on Swedish television, and have also received attention abroad. He was a driving force in the "multi-art" project, which was led by Kristian Romare, the producer of Monument. This is what Rune Jonsson writes about it in 1977: "In the news program Aktuellt, Ulf Thorén showed part of the exhibition, and Sjolander coined the following expression: "I want to exhibit, not to inhibit" [ om man skall ställa ut så skall man ju inte ställa in] . Some 10,000 visitors came to the exhibition during the two weeks that it was on. Many of the viewers were attracted by the television news-program and this made Sjolander think about new ways of distributing visual art. It should be possible to attract more visitors with the help of television and outdoor exhibitions. ("Ture Sjolander, a revolutionary in Swedish photography," Aktuell Fotografi 12:1977).

Ture Sjolander was widely noticed for his artistic activities in the 1960's. The experimental films Time and Monument were to be his most successful pieces of work in the 1960's. Included in his more recent projects, is Video Nu (Video Now) in Stockholm. He was again in the public eye in the 1970's, for taking the first colour photos of Greta Garbo and using Charlie Chaplin as a model. Ture Sjolander now lives and works in Australia.

Gary Svensson.


from the book: Digitala Pionjarer, Datorkonstens introduktion i Sverige - 2000 - Carlssons Bokforlag Stockholm Sweden.


The Artist that invented Computer Animation


by Aapo Saask





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 1963 Nam June Paik Paik and Wolf Vostell presented the earliest experiments with distorted TV-images. They placed thirteen televisions prepared for the distortion of images on the floor among many other objects at the Parnass Gallery in Wuppertal. This "event" is retrospectively identified as the beginning of video art.

From 1965-1968, Nam June Paik and Yud Yalkut work with the first experimental creation of electronic images, based on the manipulation of transistors and resistors of a television set, with what was called a video synthesizer. These abstract images - waving, and swinging and changing colour, surging forth at random as a result of maladjustment – show that a monitor can also be an instrument and not just a simple receiver of images. Their esperiments were first shown in 1971.


Already in 1965, Ture Sjolander’s electronically manipulated images were broadcasted by the Swedish Television (SVT) and later by other TV-stations in Europe. 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 the era, 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 televised pioneering animations were "TIME" (1965/66) by Ture Sjolander and Bror Wikstrom and "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, 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/or 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 Sweden therefore lost a lead position in the computer-development (later called IT) 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 good glimpse of him by googling. Today, he has a fascinating web-presence.

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 Papua New Guinea and China.

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

In September/October 2004, some of his recent paintings are to be 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