1970s Concretist Sculpture

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This 1976 piece of public sculpture is at the playground next to my house. It’s titled Del av helhet – helhet av del, “Part of whole – whole of part”, referring to its modular makeup.

I haven’t really paid any attention to it since Juniorette became old enough to go out and play without grownups. But just now I took a walk in the sun and caught the piece with good lighting. It’s taller than I am, a sturdy climbable aluminium structure as was en vogue in the 70s. It forms a slightly narrow double portal into the playground for people approaching from outside the Boat Hill housing area. Kids from the tenements enter the park that way.

The artist is Bertil Herlov Svensson (b. 1929). A self-taught painter and sculptor, he debuted in 1967 after a career as a sailor and carpenter. These concretist aluminium works are characteristic for him, and we have at least one more in Fisksätra, the prominently placed Arkitektura Skulpturum whose silhouette is Fisksätra’s logotype.

Once while we lived in the tenements I took Junior here to play. He climbed the sculpture and came down frightened. On top of the thing, someone had written a graffito where they threatened to kill themselves. I hope they never did. I like that sculpture.


  1. #1 Peter Lund
    April 27, 2012

    Sounds like he was the Swedish Robert Jacobsen:


    Here’s one of his gigantic iron sculptures, constructed by a shipyard:

  2. #2 Birger Johansson
    April 27, 2012

    The sculpture must pre-date the arbitrary EU rules for what you can have near a playground.
    Kids… MGMT – Kids http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PFR359KEck

  3. #3 Birger Johansson
    April 27, 2012

    About frightening kids: The video is of course most famous for Beavis and Butt-Head’s expert commentary. Beavis: “The mom made the kid cry so she could be in the video”
    Butt-Head: “She said “OK, there are gonna be some scary monsters and creepy guys touching you, but you can handle it, you are, like, a year and a half”
    Beavis: You are one year old, it’s time you pull your weight!”

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