You see we are blind at Fineart Gallery in Oslo is the largest collection of Odd Nerdrum’s work that has ever been on display, showcasing sixty paintings from the past twenty years.
Since the 1980s, Nerdrum has consistently depicted man in his primal state, confronted by the necessities of life and its inescapable challenges. The paintings in this exhibition emphasize human figures in movement, roughly painted as if caught in a stage of transformation.
Watch Jan-Ove Tuv’s guided tour at the exhibition:
Tuv is known for putting emphasis on technique and storytelling when he analyzes paintings. He often points to a method he calls the “shock effect” which he says is typical for Odd Nerdrum. “It pushes or pulls figures in a certain direction,” he explains.
Taking inspiration from “Hope” by George Frederic Watts, Nerdrum is using a heliocentric perspective where centralized figures are seen from beneath, and the earth as if from outer space — a sense of life repeated in some of his most iconic images.
Besides barren landscapes and forests, a third scenery of a darker kind has been introduced in the last decade and a half. The series of void pictures is a continuation of experimental motifs Nerdrum made in the 1960s, initially inspired by fever dreams in his childhood. Here, the human figure is the supreme center of attention and the general order of society has ceased to exist. In some of his recent paintings, the transitory stage of the underworld becomes apparent. Clothless… hairless; the figures are stripped of everything, as if they were living ghosts.
Since the mid-2000s, Nerdrum has been using the Apelles palette, consisting of white, yellow, red, and black. The cool tones in these works, which appear blue, are merely gradations of gray, underlining the earthly tone and sense of unity.
More and more coarsely painted and softer in the transitions, as if in a dream, his subjects are living, translucent beings.
For Nerdrum, a “correct” depiction has never been sufficient. His primary goal has been storytelling, and now more than ever, he connects the figures through a pulsating rhythm of eternity.
The stories we are witnessing recreate moments where life is at stake. Moments of utter seriousness and devotion. Moments we all secretly long for, because they tell us who we are.
Seeing Nerdru’s work, one is reminded of Joseph Campbell´s words of how The Hero brings eternity into the present. He who lives according to timeless stories will remain forever young, because his ideas come from the primal source of human life.
Jan-Ove Tuv will have guided tours at the exhibition:
Sunday 27th March at 1 and 3 pm (13:00 og 15:00)
Saturday 2nd April at 2 and 4 pm (14:00 og 16:00)
Sunday 3rd April at 1 and 3 pm (13:00 og 15:00)
It is for free and anyone can join.