The uncompromising visionary of space and colour

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If you are in Stockholm you still have one month left to see a stunningly beautiful and interesting exhibition at the Modern Museum. Olle Baertling was the bankman and autodidact artist who never was fully accepted in the Swedish art world, but internationally acclaimed as a great concretist painter, graphic artist and sculptor.

The exhibition is just big enough and very well designed. It gives a good picture of the mature artist. He was contradictory, combining the spiritual and the naive, the intellectual and the magic. “The art of the open shape may be compared to the unknown forces and greatness of eternal space. It is partitioned light in eternal spaces in strong dynamics. The work thought and shaped as an immaterial instrument, in which the work, being of spiritual nature, has its domicile”.

Beartling was striving for the barely possible, and looked into the future of society. In 1961 he designed the 85 m tall sculpture Asamk to be placed in the midst of Stockholms city center, over 20 m higher than the surrounding buildings. (Some buildings he proposed in Dubai and Germany were 200-300 meters.) Maybe now it is time to realize this work and break the pragmatism of Stockholm architecture? Are we not in the future, or what?

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