# 30318

DE GEER, Carl Johan and Jan HANNERTZ, Jan

[SWEDISH UNDERGROUND; DON CHERRY] Pengar eller livet

$300.00 AUD

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[=Money or Life]. Stockholm : Albert Bonniers förlag, 1970. First edition. Large octavo (235 x 160 mm), original pictorial stiff wrappers, pp [62], all-illustrated photobook novella, which includes a full-page portrait of American expat free jazz musician Don Cherry (father of Neneh); text in Swedish; a fine copy.

From Boo-Hooray:

‘Carl Johan De Geer, born in 1938, grew up in absurd privilege and abject unhappiness as a member of one of Sweden’s most powerful aristocrat families, his parents showed no discernable interest in him or his siblings. He grew up on a grand country estate with his grandparents, went to art school in the late 1950’s, and in an epic choice of rejection lived his life to this day as a perennial Swedish underground artist, working in counterpoint to the privilege of his surname, and simultaneously getting noticed by the societal and cultural elites (who sometimes overlap) in that duck-pond of a nation due to that very same last name.

Carl Johan De Geer, as a masterful Leica M4 snapshot giant à la Van Der Elsken or Moriyama, had the sacred ability to capture the monotone grit of everyday life and demand its reflection. The crumbling façades and interiors of buildings moments before demolition provided a backdrop to a culture where sixties- Stockholm-bohemians were making love and raising families, paying rock bottom month-by-month rent.

De Geer gives us a glimpse of a Sweden inhabited by people who are the other, whose life experience is impregnated with otherness, providing a visual cue into an unseen world, alas the wonder of great documentary photography. The visible scratches, fades and imperfections, the wabi-sabi of this collection of vintage prints, is reflected in the images.

Throughout his life, De Geer developed a polyglot canon that exhibited a multitude of disciplines, all of which he seemed master, avoiding the all too common problem of dilettantism.

De Geer’s rarified work as a textile designer from the 60’s until today, provided a bright and cozy decorative through-line in the often nomadic life of countercultural living arrangements. The intricate and playful designs, combined with vivid coloration, betray another medium where the artist is fluent. Among other occupations, De Geer is a skilled painter, silk-screen artist, novelist, filmmaker, and a producer of documentary material.

As an auteur of Swedish independent cinema, the mass of his feature-length and short films, produced with his late partner Hakan Alexandersson, were a unique coagulation of high and low culture. This strange concoction of influences, ranging from Freud to Mickey Spillane, culminated in the bizarre and erudite children’s television program: ‘Tartan (The Cake)’. At the time loved by children and scorned by critics and pedagogues, it is today hailed as a masterpiece of absurdist media.

The feature-length films, often with a gothic horror slant, rival Terry Gilliam for the fine-tuned execution of both physical and inner dirtiness, and of course for a hundredth of a Hollywood production budget….’