Filmform was founded in 1950 and is one of the oldest
archives in the world devoted to video art and experimental
The society Svensk Experimentfilmstudio During the
early 1950s experimental and art film achieved a breakthrough
in Sweden. Film expanded rapidly, gaining a prominent
position that attracted artists and writers to work
with moving pictures as a medium of artistic expression.
If one is to understand all these film experiments
from those "pioneering" days one must bear
in mind that, for a lengthy period during war, Sweden
had been isolated from the rest of Europe. Sweden was
marked by this involuntary exile and because of this
art was particularly dynamic and full of potential.
The post-war generation of artists and writers saw
in the cinema new and extensive opportunities for developing
an artistic medium. They saw a way out of Sweden’s
cultural provincialism and in this the cinema had an
central place in discussions of aesthetics. Film was
seen as a new medium in which personal expression, free
from the regulations of convention, could maintain its
Stockholm’s museum of modern art, Moderna Museet,
opened in 1958 showing the film series Apropa Eggeling.
This was a typical choice for the time since experimental
film was in an extremely expansive period. This series
was followed by many others. A major milestone was The
New American Cinema in 1963 when films by Stan Brakhage,
Jonas Mekas, Andy Warhol and Alfred Leslie were shown.
These showings enabled Swedish cinéastes to see
something new and poetic that required a different way
of seeing for the first time: the idea of a cinematographic
poetry beyond all limits, a new image of the world.
Since its "pioneering" days, Swedish independent
film has become increasingly narrative and young film-makers
do not consider themselves particularly experimental
in the orthodox and formal sense, but they retain a
greater freedom in terms of form and content. Many have
left film to devote themselves to video and digital
media. But the passion and involvement that motivated
the pioneers of the 1950s remain with the artistic force
of the moving picture.