Öyvind Fahlström is known for work that interweaves concrete poetry, Conceptual art, and Pop art. Often incorporating cartographic and diagrammatic forms. His work merges dense information with obsessive cartoon-like imagery and formal pictorial invention. Africa Banner comprises a rough rendering of Africa made from textiles; appearing less like a land mass and more like a collection of routes that form the shape of the continent, it is covered with crosses, hatches, and other insignia that seem to mark specific points. Employing a private artistic language, Fahlström codes the geographical condition of Africa with symbols not necessarily understandable to the viewer, but which suggest a multilayered history and complexity that make the whole difficult to grasp.
Öyvind Fahlström (b. 1928, São Paolo, Brazil; d. 1976, Stockholm, Sweden)
Africa Banner, 1966
Variable banner, silkscreen on felt and polyester, thread, and Velcro
72 x 70 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition and Collection Committee