Text J. O. Mallander
Graphic design Aleksi Salokannel / Sisin
Stapled booklet, 40 pages
Papers Gmund Original Vergé 100 g/m2, Fabriano Tiziano 160 g/m2
Printed and bound by Bokeh, Helsinki
80 x 78 x 4 mm
Edition of 200 copies
En Begynnelse by J. O. Mallander is a satirical, philosophical text in verse form, originally published in 1978. It describes a sequence of events where the human universe is created, in reverse order.
The author has stated that the text cannot be translated into any other language. Therefore it is now being re-edited in original Swedish. The translation problems are caused chiefly by the expressions fatta beslut and fattades and their overlapping, and it is precisely these ambiguities that turn the text into a confusing thought experiment. After 1978, the text has only been performed twice by the author, in front of a live audience.
The new edition, titled En Begynnelse, “A Beginning", has a complex relationship with poetry and 'regular' literature in general. Originally in 1978 the text was titled “Diktsamling 1978”, "A Poetry Collection 1978", although it only contained one single text. In his preface to the present edition, Mallander writes that during the 1970s he had an aspiration to act in the "role" of a poet, even though in fact he was something different. Conceptual art was only just beginning to take shape as a 'toolbox' for visual artists.
The staple stitched little booklet has been designed by Aleksi Salokannel, and published as an edition of 200 numbered copies.
Jan Olof Mallander (born 1944 in Helsinki) started working as an artist and art critic in 1968. The art magazine Iiris, which Mallander ran between 1968 and 1970, introduced the latest international avant-garde to the Finnish audience. He was also a founding member of the Finnish underground group The Sperm, which operated from 1967 to 1971. After that, Mallander was a driving force in the independent artists' group called Elonkorjaajat ('The Harvesters') and in the gallery Cheap Thrills (1971–1977), which was a platform for young local talents and international avant-garde artists. Through his roles as an artist, art critic, and gallerist, Mallander paved the way for new forms of visual art, such as conceptual art, minimalism, and video art, in Finland during the late 1960s and the 1970s. He had international connections with Fluxus artists, of whom he met Nam June Paik (1932–2006) and Dick Higgins (1938–1998), among others, on several occasions. Mallander's sound art piece Extended Play (1968) is an outstanding classic of Finnish conceptual art. He has also been engaged with visual poetry since the late 1960s. The landmarks of Mallander's 1980s production are the conceptual charcoal drawing series WANG and the brick sculpture installations titled Kohti puhdasta maata ('Towards the Pure Land'), both of which have their origins in Buddhism.