Graphic revolt! Scandinavian artists' workshops, 1968-1975 : Røde Mor, Folkets Ateljé and GRAS
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This thesis examines the relationship between the three artists’ workshops Røde Mor (Red Mother), Folkets Ateljé (The People’s Studio) and GRAS, who worked between 1968 and 1975 in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Røde Mor was from the outset an articulated Communist graphic workshop loosely organised around collective exhibitions. It developed into a highly productive and professionalised group of artists that made posters by commission for political and social movements. Its artists developed a familiar and popular artistic language characterised by imaginative realism and socialist imagery. Folkets Ateljé, which has never been studied before, was a close knit underground group which created quick and immediate responses to concurrent political issues. This group was founded on the example of Atelier Populaire in France and is strongly related to its practices. Within this comparative study it is the group that comes closest to collective practises around 1968 outside Scandinavia, namely the democratic assembly. The silkscreen workshop GRAS stemmed from the idea of economic and artistic freedom, although socially motivated and politically involved, the group never implemented any doctrine for participation. The aim of this transnational study is to reveal common denominators to the three groups’ poster art as it was produced in connection with a Scandinavian experience of 1968. By ‘1968’ it is meant the period from the late 1960s till the end of the 1970s. It examines the socio-political conditions under which the groups flourished and shows how these groups operated in conjunction with the political environment of 1968. The thesis explores the relationship between political movements and the collective art making process as it appeared in Scandinavia. To present a comprehensible picture of the impact of 1968 on these groups, their artworks, manifestos, and activities outside of the collective space have been discussed. The argument has presented itself that even though these groups had very similar ideological stances, their posters and techniques differ. This has impacted the artists involved to different degrees, yet made it possible to express the same political goals. It is suggested to be linked with the Scandinavian social democracies and common experience of the radicalisation that took place mostly in the aftermath of 1968 proper. By comparing these three groups’ it has been uncovered that even with the same socio-political circumstances and ideological stance divergent styles did develop to embrace these issue.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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