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EDITIONS
Friday, 27 September, 2002, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Fahlstrom storms the Baltic
Öyvind Fahlström S.O.M.B.A (Some Of My Basic Assumptions), 1973, photo by Jerry Hardman-Jones
There is a huge amount of variety in Fahlström's work

The words Gateshead and culture were a bit like chalk and cheese not so long ago but with the recent development on both the Newcastle and Gateshead side of the Tyne, views of the North East are beginning to change.

The Baltic is the major new international centre for contemporary art, situated on the South bank of the River Tyne.

With no permanent collection, the Baltic will present a constantly changing programme of exhibitions.

The first change to occur since the opening of the centre in July is the international touring exhibition of Öyvind Fahlström.

This is the first major showing of his work in the UK.

Öyvind Fahlström, Masses, 1971, photo by Jerry Hardman-Jones
Fahlström was influenced by pop culture and world events
The exhibition includes more than 100 paintings, sculptures and film and sound pieces, as well as an extensive interactive section, Fahlström Digital.

Fahlström was fluent in many languages, an expert in many cultures. He also loved popular art such as comic books, which all come across strongly in his work.

The artist adds a third dimension to the pop art of the 1960s and 1970s.

His art forms a passionate commentary on the political and cultural events of the time, from global capitalism to the Vietnam War.

When the art world of the time raved about mainstream pop art, Fahlström's work was largely ignored.

One particularly impressive work is Opera, a frieze, 12 metres long. Created with a felt-tip pen, Fahlström was amazed at this new invention that provided fluency to his work.

World Map is a painting that comments on Third World economic exploitation. You could stand and gaze at it for hours.

It may be difficult to fully comprehend the array of photographs, painting and films, but selected works have been "translated" into 21st Century masterpieces.

The CIA Monopoly painting has been re-versioned so visitors can play an interactive game.

Fahlström's work appears to be as relevant in the new Millennium as it was three decades ago.

The Baltic is bringing art to the people of the North East. This can only be a positive step with Newcastle and Gateshead making a joint bid for European Capital of Culture 2008.

This exhibition may baffle some but walk in with an open mind and you will be amazed at the variety of Fahlström's work.

The Baltic exhibition Oyvind Fahlström runs from 28 September to 24 November 2002 at The Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. Admission to the venue is free.

See also:

01 Aug 02 | England
22 Jul 02 | England
19 Jul 02 | England
18 Jul 02 | Review
11 Jul 02 | England
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