R : What is there about your art that is unique ?
A : The thing that distinguishes me from other artists and make my work unique is that in addition to the craftsmanship required on each occasion, I give free rein to my intuition. The artist doesn’t always understand how his intuition works, and I don’t surely forever know what goes into the creation of painting. My art often deals with deep space, the universe and sub atomics secrets, and the laws which seem to apply there. The new physics is a big influence on my art, and as all branches of science at the frontiers of knowledge, truth are always provisional.
R : How would you characterize yourself ?
A : . Many people regard modern art as a game that doesn’t make much in the way of demands on the artist, but as far I m concerned, it s primarily an urge to be creative. The play aspect is important, but not dominant. I feel there is a discontinuities in my life. I am torn between the urge to create, and the need to have everything round me in good order. I have a vision of what a picture should look like, and I try to turn that vision into an actual picture. So, I m constantly experimenting with form, ten hours a day and sometimes more. I tell myself this need and calls for an inventive mind, courage , but also a sense of duty.
R : What traits of character do you find most useful to you in your work ?
A : Being to some extent free from outside influences and able to go my own way in the art world. You mustn’t be frightened of putting yourself on show, of exhibiting your visions. I think I m pretty fearless person.
R : What sides of your character get in the way of your work ?
A : An artist must not be afraid of weak points in his character. It’s best to find out what they are so that they can be brought under observation. I think I know what they are in my case, and that I in principle can control them ! On the other hand, new problems keep cropping up all the time.
R : Tell me a bit about your background. What did you want to make of your life when you were still at school, for instance
A : If you ll allow me to exaggerate just a little bit, I d say my background was a mixture of North American pioneer and indian mix blood and upper-class Boyar blood with a touch of hypocritical popery lurking in the background. On top of that choice blend there s a potion of Scandinavian viking blood – I m supposed to be descended from Rurik s line !
When I was at school, my favourite subjects were history, maths, drawing and PE. I m not much good at languages – I can speak some English and make myself nearly understood in French and German. When I m in a really good mood, I can come up with some Italian and Spanish.
My mother adored classical music, and gave me a piano primer; my father was more into heavyweight boxer Ingemar Johansson, and he gave me boxing gloves. They both cared about me a lot, but they separated ugly, while I was still at school and the main influence on my upbringing was a black Welsh corgi, a Scandinavian champion. I don’t know that I had any particular career in mind, I just wanted to go in for art if possible, and it was a rather vague intention. For me, school was what I think many middle-aged gentlemen see in their country club: a nice place to chat with friends about exiting adventures and points of view !
R : When did you decide you wanted to be an artist ?
A : I’ve always been involved in some form of artistic activity. I started travelling around Europe with only one aim in mind: to meet other artists and to see as many museums and galleries as possible. I took occasional jobs wherever I could, and eventually, I managed to build up a portfolio of paintings good enough to break through and be recognized as an promising young artist. Since I’ve really in for art in a serious way, I’ve completed nearly four hundred paintings – a number connoisseurs have noted with considerable interest. I do also experiments with objects and performances.
R : To what extent have you been affected by chance ?
A : I believe in chance ! Bad luck can strike now and then, but you must always bear in mind there s plenty of opportunity to bring about good fortune. That’s the way things are, I’ve been lucky – perhaps that’s why I believe in chance. But unless I work hard, I can t create good luck, and I must never forget that.
R : Are you ambitious ?
A : Obviously, my ambition has been to paint. I’m dependent on success, though, and I’ve always aimed to be at the best galleries and the best collections – and in some cases I m there. Par example Prince Johannes von Liechtenstein collection of contemporary art, The Prince himself chose some of my paintings. That was good.
R : What difficulties have you experienced as an artist ?
A : The difficulty is squeezing out of yourself that special something , get free flow from my intuition and secret inner world and change that something into muscles movements to create the per septic object and stimuli. This has to grow into a style of your own that you develop without compromise. When I m creating a work of art, I m challenging my desire to lead a comfortable existence, and that’s arouses my Angst. I can only shake of my Angst by working through the idea to its ultimate conclusion, to see if it can hold up.
R : What s special about art ? What is its rôle ?
A : I believe in the direct excitement and healing effects of art. Taking an interest in my art is going on a journey into a world beyond words, I think. One critic has said it has to do with metaphysical projections, and I would add that it sets in motion pleasurable processes. I also believe in art as bearer of messages, continuities and revolutions, across the boundaries of time and space. I think this gives art a certain value, so I also consider art to be a commodity as well – the word culture has to do with the creation and the trade.
R : What is good art ? And bad art ?
A : Good art contains a secret; bad art has no secrets. Good art creates in the observer an elevated mood and a desire to progress further. Bad art creates no such feelings, no sense of exhilaration.
R : How do you see the future, being an artist here in Sweden and achieving success both at home and abroad ?
A : How, well, Sweden is a small country, but a interesting one. It s way out ahead of most other countries in many ways. Here in Sweden, there are perhaps ten or so people, no more, who really know what is going on at the frontiers of modern art.
My art has given me contacts Basle, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Venice and Vienna. My works have been well received in all those places. I shall be exhibiting in Antwerp, Barcelona, Osaka in Japan and in New York – my début in the USA : it will be interesting to see how the new public react to my art.
Here in Sweden, there is keen interest in art, I think, and that kind of climate is essential for the creative process I need to call on in my work.
SWEDISH BOOK REVIEW
1987 : 2 ISSN 0265-8119