Take Care of the World, 1975

1. Art — Consider art as a way of experiencing a fusion of "pleasure" and "insight", Reach this by impurity, or multiplicity of levels, rather than by reduction.

Historical Painting, 1973

I always admired novelists and comic-strip artists for their "God-like" power of recreating realities on any level. In the series of Notes (1 to 9) I started scribbling a mixture of figures and writing which gradually became more defined (I did not depart from comic-strips as I did in my works of the '60's). With the introduction of a completely coloured background (in the Column series, World Map, etc.), I have gotten into a sort of historical painting where all kinds of data and ideas — historical, economic, poetic, topical — are presented in a unified style.

S.O.M.B.A. (Some of My Basic Assumptions), 1971-73

1. Basic Assumption
All people are different, but everyone is of equal worth.

2. Class. Needs.
Marxism is about destroying class differences, not differ-
ences between individuals.
"From everyone according to his ability, to everyone
according to his needs."

3. "Human Nature"
Are people intrinsically evil (aggressive, etc.)? Or are they
basically good?
People are conditioned by society. "There are no evil
people, only evil governments." (Ho Chi Minh)

4. Two Economies

On Monopoly Games, 1971

My Monopoly game paintings consist of 200-230 painted magnetic elements on a painted metal board. They deal with world trade, world politics, the left and the right in USA, Indochina, and CIA vs. Third World liberation forces. They can all be played, according to the rules written on the paintings, as variants of the classical Monopoly game, which is of course the game of capitalism: a simplified, but precise presentation of the trading of surplus value for capital gains.

Excerpt from "Sausages and Tweezers — A Running Commentary", 1966

A game in its most universal meaning requires only one thing: rules. A player at a slot machine can be a single person, two competing, twenty competing, or twenty playing individually.

My basic interpretation of the concept of a game — and my artistic use of it — is not evolved from the strategy theories of von Neumann, Herman Kahn, etc. I am more inclined to refer to Cage's method of composition, and psychologists such as T. Leary and E. Berne. But above all, the idea of a game for me is a simple, fundamental out look on life, dating back to the time of my Concrete Manifesto (1953).

Spel, 1965

Ett spel i allmängiltigaste mening förutsätter endast en sak: regler. Spelaren vid en spelautomat kan vara en; två som tävlar; tjugo som tävlar; tjugo som spelar individuellt.

Min elementära tolkning av begreppet spel - och konstnärliga utnyttjande av det - utgår alltså inte från von Neumanns, Herman Kahns etc. strategiteorier. Jag anknyter snarare till Cages sätt att komponera och psykologer som T. Leary och E. Berne. Men framför allt är spelidén för mig en enkel fundamental livssyn, som går tillbaka till tiden för det konkreta manifestet (1953).

Manipulera världen

I mina variabla målningar får jag fram elementens typ eller karaktär på ett konkret sätt genom att skära ut en silhuett i plast och plåt. Formtypen blir på så vis fixerad och handgriplig, "levande" som ett föremål och samtidigt flat som en målning. Försedda med magneter kan silhuettformerna placeras intill varandra, ovanpå varandra, skjutas in i öppningar, hängas i trådar. De kan också glida i slitsar, böjas i sidled i nitade leder, vikas frontalt med gångjärn.

The Invisible Painting, 1960

Very generally:
The future of art, if it is to have any future, must be based on a synthesis. I regard most modern art as an experimental field for separate discoveries and solutions, the unity of composition and form, color composition, illusions of time and space, poetic content, automatism and gesture, experimentation with material. A growing number of artists end up in a technical idiocy of style, cultivating a particular halfway solution.


Opera began with my discovery of the felt-tip pen in 1952. With this I could work not only with a fairly precise, even blackness, like India ink, but also with gradations of gray which were not fuzzy like pencil drawings. The felt-tip also produced random textures. The pleasurable "spontaneity" of that working method began to feel monotonous after awhile. I began to putting together some of the sheets on which I had drawn, and I could see continuity and larger themes begin to appear.