A wobbly kitten

The art and life: a manual
Forfatter: Kjetil Røed
Forlag: Flamme Forlag (Oslo)
ABOUT ART / A remarkable instruction manual for the critical moments of art and life.


It's November 2017. On the way down from Sagene, the 37 bus runs, approaching the center. Inside the bus is a man. He looks out the window and while he looks he thinks. He thinks about what he sees, but also what he has seen. The man is named Kjetil Røed, he is a philosopher, literary writer and art critic. He tries to put his experiences together into a long coherent thought. It is winter. There is snow outside.

It is said that instructions for use are not read. It is only when the functionality does not work or is mastered the instruction manual. Modern products offer complex functionality that requires more detailed explanations, and the operating instructions contain technical documentation, information on proper installation and maintenance, as well as reservations and warnings. This is not the case with Kjetil Rød's instruction manual. It is without technical documentation, without warnings and reservations, but is written to be read. It plays with the idea of ​​product guidance, but is an easy-to-read manual in a complex, yet neat structure.

Art and life are divided into eleven different fields: attention, judgment, withdrawal, curiosity, recognition, hope, cooperation, dispute, craft, love and solidarity. As an essayist, Røed refers to Montaigne, but also to the experience of the compound, across time and space – he has that from Proust. As an art critic, he emphasizes patience and retreat as his most important tools.


It translates

Is it necessary to have your own knowledge or special studies today to understand or make use of art? Antiquity's quest for the Beautiful and Neoclassicism for the Sanne have weathered in a discussion linked to art-theoretical assessments and debates. Once, God was a common reference for the same. Another time, it was the look of modernity that bound us together. The conditions for the considerations have changed. According to Røed, the conversation about art concerns everyone. In an individual-oriented world, what can bind us together? Røed even mentions the book as an examination of "his mental affiliation in various social communities and puts it in the context of selected works of art", further as "the art of seeing it translate". It is a wobbly kitten in a risky project in the snow that puts into play a long line of thought about recognition, care and thinking, that it belongs together, and that it is this attention that links living beings to each other.

In our viewpoint we even come into the spotlight – we are seen.

The whole book begins with drawing attention to our own attention, and he points out that our eyes are binding. Glance is action. This activates or makes the viewer responsible – ethical. Røed's gaze goes horizontally. He pulls the art and the artist away from the iconization, pointing out that it is the place you see from that is the most important.

Our contemporary history

Art is a unique tool for working on the question of who we are and thus also what a good life can be. We are thus part of a journey of discovery in life and art in a textual landscape characterized by the author's humble curiosity in a landscape of life and artistic experiences. He keeps my thoughts moving, from a portrait of Cologne, to framing vegetables, from Rembrandt's fascination with acting in his own images, to Tor Børresens Float (2016), and further through national romantic landscapes and the necessity of television, about experiences in Venice, but also about the importance of the Oslo field.


What value does art have? For whom? Is art necessary? Why is art necessary?

When the bus has reached Akersgata, to the center of Oslo, he leaves. Akersgata is the gateway to newspaper houses, and Aftenposten and VG are among the traditional managers of the free dissemination of truth in Norway. But these newspaper houses were hit at one of the most critical moments in our contemporary history. They were the closest neighbor to the Government Quarter on July 22, 2011. The silence in the echo of the fertilizer bomb manifests itself in Rood's investigation of Ahnad Ghossein's work Relocating the Past. Ruins for the Future (see picture). Again this wobbly kitten in the snow. The whole book is in a way built around this point and is perhaps one of the finest written about the vulnerable silence after July 22nd. What creates the good in life? Is it possible to create the good in life even in the critical stages of it?

The journey continues, now to Eidsvolls place where Marianne Heseke's work House of Commons (2015) for a period stood in a kind of opposition to the Storting's hall, in a conversation about elitism.

Views and views

On the bus back home, it has started to snow. The snow is perishable, and with the snow the cats also disappear, suddenly they are gone without a trace. The perspectives are also changing. The peripheral axis is no longer Sagene, but Malmøya, and the center is also moving, towards Copenhagen. In other words, we are exposed to it. Even the Oslo field may seem more monumental than the Y-block shaking during demolition threats, despite its aesthetic durability being written in stone.

As viewers, we are not only centered in our own perspective, in our own outlook and insight, in our own perceptions and views, but we are also part of the others. For in our view we even come into the spotlight – we are seen. It is in such a horizontal perspective that art takes its place as something more than a market economy commodity. Art expresses deep human experience, or as a means of survival. It's like the lone spectator in Caspar Friederich David's The wanderer over the Nebel sea turns around, comes down from the mountain, and joins Kjetil Røed and his art of human economics, and they all meet in the end. The House of Commons for recognitions, greetings, surveys and exchanges. The Art and Life: A User's Guide is a remarkable contemplative art about art (s) about life. Kjetil Røed, thank you for sharing.

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