Comité Bengt Lindstrom
Bengt Lindstrom

Bengt Lindström (1925-2008)

Bengt Lindström was born on September 3rd, 1925 in Storsjökapell, a small isolated village in the Swedish province of Norrland. The young child thus grew up in that vast, mythical and harsh expanse of mounts, glistening lakes and endless forests known as Lapland. His father was a primary school teacher who was fond of Lapps and who showed great interest in their ethnic group and culture. The child was only three days old when Lapp King Kroik, his godfather, administered the Baptism of the Earth, where the child is conveyed between two roots of a tree to grant him protection from the Gods. Lapps as well as local lumberjacks would occasionally abandon their silent ways to tell him and reveal the tales, legends and mysteries of the Great White North.

1935-1945 : He left Storsjökapell and headed to Härnösand, where he wrote short science-fiction novellas, became a renowned athlete and began to paint. 

1944-1946 : Isaac Grünewald Art School in Stockholm, Sweden. Study drawing with Aksel Jörgensen at the Copenhagen Fine Arts School in Denmark. He realized his first two lithographs, Meditation and Le Modèle Etendu (The Stretched Model).

1947-1952 : He arrived in Paris. He travelled to Italy, where he visited Florence and Assisi, developing a deep fascination for Giotto and Cimabue. He was granted a scholarship by Swedish magazine Aftontidningen, which helped him move into a workshop in Arcueil, France. He began working on mosaics.

1953-1967 : He returned to Paris, once again taking up lithography and engraving, which holds a vital position in his work. He moved into a workshop in Rueil-Malmaison. This was the start of his collaboration with the Rive Gauche Gallery in Paris. London Tooth & Sons Gallery Director M. Cochrane purchased a large number of his works. He left the workshop in Rueil-Malmaison to settle in Savigny-sur-Orge, France. He began taking to figurative art with Masks, Gods and Monsters. He exhibited with the Nouvelle Figuration Group at the Mathias Feld Gallery. He also began working with the Ariel Gallery in Paris.

1968-1978 : Lindström completed a series of 10 lithographs about Scandinavian mythology. He also completed a series of drypoint works. An association with the Protée Gallery in Toulouse, France, led to exhibitions at the Protée Gallery II in Paris starting in 1984. He executed a large mural painting the Grand Hotel in Härnösand, Sweden. He also made two large frescoes for the Nacksta-Sundsvall covered market in Sweden. He took to sharing his working time between the workshop in Savigny-sur-Orge and the one in Sundsvall. He began collaboration that was to last several years with the ABCD Gallery in Paris, which provided exclusive publication for his engravings and strong ink work. Les Hommes du Nord (Men of the North) was the first of the major tapestries. He published a boxed set album, Eddan, Eddan, Eddan, illustrating Scandinavian mythology. Together with Jacques Putman, he completed two editions of bronze sculptures, Les Enfants Sauvages (The Wild Children).

1979-1982 : He worked on glass, making thirty dishes and goblets for renowned Swedish glassmaker Kosta Boda. He painted a car for Volvo, Sweden’s leading car manufacturer. Then, close to his birthplace, he painted gigantic tarpaulins over forty metres high, covering the slopes of the neighbouring Våladalen Mountain, as a protest against the building of a dam. This action caused a sensation and provoked fierce reactions. He also created small painted papier mâché sculptures, Têtes (Heads), as well as some gold and silver jewellery.

1983 : He exhibited seven monumental 3x2.5m works at the Art and History Museum in Stockholm: Les Grands Dieux Ase (The Great Aesir Gods), depicting the gods from Scandinavian mythology: Thor, Odin, Frej, Balder, Ymer, Loki and Unknown God, as well as acrylic paintings about the Valkyries. Les Grands Dieux was ultimately exhibited in a purpose-built chapel adjoining the Midlanda Contemporary Arts Centre in 1996. He completed Thor’s Hammer, a monumental sculpture.

1985-1990 : He lived also in the Alicante region, where Spanish friends found him a new workshop. While there he completed Novelda, an album of lithographs featuring poems by Spanish poet Paco Pastor. He completed a new mural, 5mx5m, for the Västeras Science Institute in Sweden. He then started working with the San Carlo Gallery in Milan, Italy, which coordinated all of the Italian events. Major exhibitions and retrospectives were held in Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Spain. He created two boxed set albums, containing series of 10 aquatints, Monde Autre et Chamanes (Otherworld and Shamans), featuring poems by Michel Perrin.

1991-1994 : He went back to working in black and white, completing some very-large-format works. In Murano, in association with the San Carlo Gallery, he created Grands Verres (Large Glasses), a series of large vases and sculptures made of crystal. He painted Kåtan Mimi, an 8x9m Lapp tent, for the town of Arjeplog in Swedish Lapland. He completed a couple of 2m-high painted polyester sculptures, Lui et Elle (Him and Her). He then made a new series of crystal glasses and sculptures in Murano, Italy. He completed Présence (Presence), a new 3.5x2.7m tapestry for the municipality of Timrå, Sweden. He started on the Grands Initiés (Great Insiders) series, all large format and mixed black and white techniques. He finished the strong series about Norse gods.

1995-1996 : He moved into a new workshop in Paris. A retrospective was held at the Sundsvall Museum in Sweden, and on that occasion he painted a monumental 700-m² canvass, Le Géant sur la montagne (The Giant on the Mountain), which was hung all summer long on the mountain slope facing the town. He went on to complete a suite of six silkscreen prints on the same theme. Then he inaugurated the Y, a monumental sculpture. Lindström then completed Temps Zéro (Zero Time), a watch made for Swatch. One of his works, L’hiver (Winter), made the cover of the first 1996 issue of Telerama, the leading French weekly. In association with Sydkraft Sweden, he painted a fresco for the municipality of Örebro on a 17m-high tank with a surface area of 3,000 m², located at the crossroads of major Swedish motorways, by the entrance to the Åbyverket industrial estate. He also created a 6.5m-high Tången sculpture made of painted concrete in Ånge, which was inaugurated on September 3rd in the presence of their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden.

1997-1999 : He began working on ceramics in Albisolla, Italy. He also completed a new 30m-high fresco for the town of Örebro, located close to the tank he had painted in 1996 near Åbyverket. The year saw the inauguration of the Midlanda Contemporary Arts Centre in Sweden, which harbours the collection of the Bengt and Michèle Lindström Foundation, featuring the entire engravings collection (about 800 works), as well as a selection of paintings and sculptures. He completed a 4x10m mural in the lobby of the University of Eskilstuna, Sweden, and also completed two monumental frescoes on the Akkats dam and a mural on the power station facing Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland.

2000-2003 : He painted all of the sides of a semi-articulated lorry for Scania, Sweden’s main truck manufacturer. In Italy, he completed a new series of crystal sculptures with Adriano Bérengo. He finished the Great Prophets, a series of 2x2m oil on canvass works. Swiss publisher Ides et Calendes published a small but luxurious monograph, with text by Françoise Monnin. A notebook was also published, Le Visage dans l’Art de Bengt Lindström (Faces in the Art of Bengt Lindström). He completed a substantial series of large blue acrylic paintings, Femmes (Women).

2003 : Bengt fell ill and was unable to paint, but the exhibitions went on.

2004 : Saw the release of the film by Dag Jonzon and Hans Östbom, produced by Dell’arte AB and Östbom Filmbild, about the life of Bengt Lindström. Entitled Lindström - Le Diable de la couleur et de la forme (Lindström – The Colour and Form Devil), the film was produced thanks to support from Film Västernorrland, Länsstyrelsen Västernorrland and Sveriges Television. It was broadcast on Swedish television channels. That same year, the Midlanda Contemporary Arts Centre was closed as a result of municipal policy.

2005-2007 : The 6m-high sculpture Le Loup (The Wolf), made for PEAB, was inaugurated in Botkyrka-Stockholm. Lindström – The Colour and Form Devil was screened at the Paris Swedish Cultural Centre and released on DVD. The Michèle and Bengt Lindström Foundation was donated and transferred to the Länsmuseet i Västernorrland in Härnösand, Sweden, where a special room was prepared to host Les Grands Dieux Ase. Edition of the 1998 Ceramics, created in association with Francis Dellile’s ”La Tuilerie” workshop. The Bengt Lindström Collection was inaugurated at, Murberget, the Länsmuseet i Västernorrland in Härnösand, Sweden. He illustrated Sinfonietta för Juliana, a collection of poems by Italian poet and art critic Sebastiano Grasso. On January 29th, 2008, Bengt Lindström passed away at his home in Sweden.

2008-2012 : The Fondation Krimaro presents the first volume of the works of Bengt Lindström in his collection. Numerous exhibitions-tribute to the work are presented in major cities in Europe.

2012 : Retrospective - Black and White in the engravings - Museum of Härnösand, Murberget, Sweden.