Odd Nerdrum Quotes

The world somehow is always the same. The only thing that can improve is the individual life. One can live a good life. One can give life a meaning. Either by drinking oneself to death or by painting oneself to death or by loving oneself to death.

Because modernism has conquered art, kitsch is the savior of talent and devotion.

Kitsch is deep in its superficiality. Art is superficially deep.

Odd Nerdrum

Everything is a meaningless struggle against nothing and when people say that the world has become a better place that is a false development-optimism. Nothing exists which ever becomes better. Everything stays the same. Somehow, there is nothing. That is so sad. Nothing to come to. Everything is an illusion. A very sweet illusion.

The point is that only one thing matters in this world, to prepare oneself for death. One can try to be as comfortable as possible until one dies… Because being comfortable does not have any meaning either. It just does not. Everything is only a big meaninglessness that one must bear.

If you fall asleep on horseback, the horse will stop by the rock. Art is a car. Kitsch is a horse.

Odd Nerdrum

A topic is not interesting enough until it is multi layered. There is no vigor in a motive without many layers. One also learns quite a lot when one has been working on a difficult painting. That is my feeling. I believe that.

To be contemporary actually means to be an artist. [But] I do not feel contemporary in my work. I perceive my work as old-fashioned. It does not have a frame of actuality in our time or locality.

I believe one must be such a big egoist that it is possible to avoid the big tendencies that cut of your head. What we call fascism and things like that. It is about egoism. When you are egoistic enough you avoid such things. You become an incurable individualist and in that case you are sailing in your own sea anyway. What is very enjoyable for the individualist is to find this kind of “happy spaces” to be in and to live in.

We are all kitsch on our deathbeds.

I had a choice. I could become an economist & managing director. I choose to do something else. I would have become much, much richer than I am. I choose to not do that. It’s that simple.

I have no ideals. I have no will that the world should be any better or worse or anything… Because I know that for every genius there exists a robbing murderer. There is nothing to do about that. The world is such that if you want to find the intensity within the genuine, you will at the same time find the criminals around the nearest corner. And if you eliminate that genetic quality in the human being, then everyone will become very inactive and very boring, but on the other hand we get rid of criminality.

Contemporary art is based on that an artist is supposed to go into art history in the same way as an art historian. When the artist produces something he or she relates to it with the eye of an art historian/critic. I have the feeling that when I am working it is more like working with soap opera or glamour. It is emotional and not art criticism or history of art.

If a girl is in love with a poor guy and chooses him, then that is worst for her. If she chooses a rich man, it will be to her advantage. Everything will be fine.

I believe in positive despotism. That means an exchange between people. I’m thinking about the fact that someone serves me breakfast in my bed. I can not see anything wrong in that. Because everything is a question of exchanges between people. Everyone has some specific possibilities and can to a certain extent do whatever they want. If one wants to become rich one can study economy and if one wants to be poor one can choose to become a professor in butterfly wings for example. So we can choose.

Desire is something very egoistic. If you desire something, you also have to take the consequences of that. You have to study the market and see how it can go. I mean to become an artist… You never get the Nobel-price for example. You can normally never become a millionaire. Very few become millionaires, so the circumstances are very bad if one becomes an artist. And that should be taken into consideration.

I have always been astonished by hate. Revenge and hate. That is such strange human elements. I have seen a lot of that in my life. I am just as surprised each time. By revenge and hate.

Talking about success in society, no one can complain, because today everyone can choose what he or she wants. They don’t just have to choose between being proletarian or middle-class. Those kinds of things do not exist anymore. Today working class boys can play football and become multimillionaires. On football! There are no longer classes, who say that we are poor, we are suppressed by you etc.

One talks much more about the evil than about the good. That is a paradox. We should only talk about the good to lighten up our existence. Chase anxiousness/fear away for a moment before it sneaks back in again to our life.

Art is a car, kitsch is a horse.

When you choose your profession, you also choose your own downfall or success. If one chooses to become an artist it is 99% certain that it will go to hell. So you should not become that. If you study economics on Oslo, 99% of all students will do very well and 1% will reach the top.