Since its initial release in 1981, ‘Max Bil’ (Max’s Car), by author Barbro Lindgren and illustrator Eva Eriksson, has secured its place as one of Sweden’s most beloved children’s books. For countless Swedish children, this tale serves as their introduction to the world of books. The book follows Max and his friend Lisa, as they get into a disagreement over a toy car. In line with the other books in the max series, the book revolves around common situations of conflict, and proposes peaceful solutions to them.
Similar to how Max Bil acts as a gateway to the world of literature, the prominent Swiss artist, Architect and Graphic Designer Max Bill (1908-1994) is likely to be a foreground figure for anyone pursuing a career in the visual arts. Bill’s work often explores colour through expansive series of identical geometrical compositions, resembling a common methodology employed in children’s learning, namely repetition. One such series is bill’s ‘Strahlung aus…’ (Radiation from…), which the artist primarily worked on between 1959-1974.
In A-FL’s Hommage à Max Bill, a found copy of the Max Bil children’s book has been altered and repurposed. On its cover, the original title has been transformed with the addition of a single consonant at its end, turning ‘Max Bil’ into ‘Max Bill’. Over of the book’s 13 illustrations, A-FL has painted 13 different motifs from Bill’s aforementioned series of geometric paintings. Each identical in its composition, the small paintings are positioned perfectly centered on the square pages – a format also favoured by the Swiss artist.
Note to the text: A-FL is a graphic designer by trade. He used his first paycheck to acquire a wristwatch designed by (and named after) Max Bill for the German watchmaker Junghans. Max Bil by Barbro Lindgren and Eva Eriksson was his first book.