Swedish painter and photographer Ture Sjolander found the
communicative breadth and fluidity of video imagery immensely appealing. Working
with Bror Wikstrom, he created Time, shown on National Swedish Television
in 1966. Time was a half-hour program of "electronically manipulated paintings."
According to Chris Meigh-Andrews, author of History of Video Art,
Sjolander "worked with TV broadcast engineer Bengt Modin to construct a
temporary video image synthesizer which was used to distort and transform video
line-scan rasters by applying tones from waveform generators." What is more,
Sjolander and Wikstrom seem to be the first artists to have done so. When Nam
June Paik visited Sjolander in July and August of 1966, he saw images from
Time that almost certainly spurred him onward in his own image-processing
experiments. Further linking the relationship between video and painting, the
images in Time were also produced as limited-edition, signed and numbered
works silk-screened on canvas. Sjolander's work the next year, Monument,
was done in collaboration with Lars Weck and featured image-processed
"portraits"--via distorting signals and electronic filters--of the Mona Lisa,
Charlie Chaplin, Hitler, Picasso, and the Beatles. Broadcast in five European
nations, the program, backed by a reverberant sci-fi soundtrack of vibraphones
and organ washes, was seen by more than 150 million people. These electronic
paintings were also made into a variety of still images including tapestries, LP
art, paintings on canvas, and posters. Sjolander, Wikstrom, Svanberg and
Sven Hoglund's 1969 Space in the Brain extended Frank Malina, Jordan
Belson, and other moving-image artists' fascination with inner and outer spaces.
The artists manipulated still images of the Apollo 11 mission--given to them by
the American government--into full-color abstractions to produce a "space opera"
set to searing acid rock by Hansson & Karlsson. The piece makes use of
close-ups of an eyeball, much in the manner of Kubrick's "Stargate" sequence in
2001: A Space Odyssey, before layering in shifting, rotating washes of
hot pink, searing yellow, and electric blue forms, concluding with the
overlaying of those video shapes on top of still images of deep space.