The material for Rivulets developed out of the working process of my large
painting Mother´ s Breast. Father´s House– a painting that continues to
generate questions to be explored in future work.
Twelve variations are collected in this booklet. The collages are made on
paper, sized 98×70 cm and 85×56 cm (the diptychs). The rivulets, printed
with silkscreen technique, are partially covered with drawings, digital pigment
prints and photo polymer gravures pasted on to the paper; I have used
water-colours and vinyl paint, charcoal, graphite and crayons to create spatiality
and hold the disparate parts together.
The landscape shown in many of the pictures (often presented as enlarged
details from aerial photographs) has its geographical location in the coastal
area north of Kivik, in the south-east of Sweden. The plants depicted have also
been collected in the same area.
Three works of art have been quoted in the collages: 1) I have incorporated
the plate glass spiral that Robert Smithson used in his proposal for Dallas Fort
Worth regional airport (1967). 2) Paul Cézanne painted Man with crossed arms
in two versions in the late 1890´s. My charcoal drawings carefully reproduce his
rendering of the folds of the sleeves. 3) The Harp Player (1905) was painted by
my grandfather Karl Aspelin (1857-1932). The model for the boy resting on the
bard´s arm, was his son Gunnar – my father.
BOUSTROPHEDON – TWO REFERENCES
In his profound essay on Rainer Maria Rilke´s poem Orpheus, Eurydice. Hermes
Joseph Brodsky writes a passage about the development of the Greek written
The standard mode of écriture (written language) in that particular century
in Greek [seventh century b.c.] was called ”boustrophedon”. Boustrophedon
literally means ”ox way” and denotes the kind of writing which is similar to
plowing a field, when a furrow reaching the end of that field turns and goes
in the opposite direction. In writing, this amounts to a line running from left
to right and, upon reaching its margin, turning and running from right to
left, and so on.
Joseph Brodsky shows that the mode of writing is something more than just ”an
…it is difficult not to recognize in boustrophedon – at least visually – a
precursor of verse. For ”verse”, which comes from the Latin versus, means
”turn”. Of direction, of one thing into another: left, right, U–; of thesis into antithesis, metamorphosis, juxtaposition, paradox, metaphor, if you will,
especially successful metaphor; ultimately, rhyme, when two things sound
the same but their meanings diverge.
In the third volume of Mircea Cărtărescu´s novel Orbitór there is a suggestiv
paragraph where “boustrophedon” becomes a crucial prerequisite for writing.
The Mircea of the novel keeps guard at a metro station in Bucharest one
night during the revolutionary winter of 1989, and while he is waiting for
the development of events he continues to write in his manuscript, “this
Suddenly I wrote on both sides of the paper, because I was two, and
second by second I brought my ballpoint pen over the ballpoint of the
pen of the other, he who wrote from underneath, he who at the same
time as I made the same affected loops and swerves, without writing
the same text, however, he, on the contrary negating my text second by
second, because he wrote from the right to the left with reversed letters,
wrote it backwards, making fun of my manuscript. [- – – ] Without this
boustrophedon, this simultaneous plowing script, I would never have
been able to write anything, since my ballpoint pen – if I had not pressed
it against the other ballpoint – would have sunk into the brain substance
of the paper, into its infinity of pores and voids filled with glucosides,
lymph and blood
During my work with these twelve collage paintings I have often come back to
the thought of this dual movement, these turnings.