Order the summer edition here

To answer the riddle no one has asked you to solve

TEXT! Art and such 1981-2020
Forfatter: Guttorm Nordø
Forlag: Idiot Press (Norge)

ARTIST: Guttorm Nordø talks about the immediate as the only guideline for his art. One of the finest, most risk-taking and wittiest art books of 2021?

(Note: The article is mostly machine-translated from Norwegian by Gtranslate)

"You can paint with whatever the hell you want," writes the visual artist Guttorm Nordø (b. 1960).

The newly published book TEXT! Art and such 1981-2020 (Idiot Press) is a continuation of a previous release ¡Ink! 1988-2019, a collection of marker paintings and marker drawings (2019). This time it is Nordø's texts, arranged for four decades from the 1980s until 2020, from the first fanzine texts he wrote as a young writer, to the critique of the art bureaucracy he delivered as an established visual artist, from the self – portrait of the artist as a young man in the text Litj- Hitler to an e-mail interview with Nordø by photographer May-Irene Aasen.

In addition to working continuously as a visual artist, Nordø has run a book café (public information) and played in bands (Angkor Watt), and his mail art collection has been purchased by the National Library. Nordø held a farewell exhibition for Deichman's main library in 2016.

Opportunity to protest

- advertisement -

Nordø is one of the leading managers of the fluxus- and dada-inspired art environment in Norway – where everything can be both art and crushed, and where the idea of ​​"here and now" dominates. Nordø itself has a background from Trondheim in a time of emergence of important political, art and action movements (the occupation of Vollan district prison in 1972, the UFFA movement from 1981, the establishment of the state Academy of Fine Arts in 1987 and the emergence of the punk movement, Wannskrækk / Dum Dum Boys, Studentersamfundet). Nordø's main tool is an enthusiasm for the potential power and strength of art. The goal is to get all the art out to the people, whether they want it or not. Thus, he also became a book café founder. For Nordø, it does not matter which art form or technique is used; it is the artist's presence that decides. It is the willingness to investigate and explore, the executive power, the joy of exchanging, and the ability to conduct political activity, that matters.

"I consumed more than three books a day."

In addition to a percussion instrument and a guitar system in the studio, Nordø also had a typewriter. He was also the lucky owner of Letraset sheets, and the Letraset sheets play a major part in the graphic design of this book. Ultimately, it is the attitude that is decisive: "a view of the world, a system of behavior, a hatred of materialism, ideals, and like-mindedness as an ideal, a belief in reality, a hostility to art for the sake of art, a hope for subsistence", in short, opposition to the "well-dressed". Art is an opportunity to protest.

Fascination with text

The book begins with a quote by author Erland Kiøsterud: "Every time I see Guttorm Nordø's ink drawings I do not know whether to laugh or cry." Nordø himself writes: "The artist who believes in clear speech is either insane or overwhelmed by ordinary rhetoric."

Nordø's collection of texts in this book opens up insight into a fascinating and engaging doubt about the choice of art format. “I have painted guitar amps in train compartments […]. I have painted with fingers, knives, shoes, wooden sticks, football, stencils, paper, spray cans, brushes and all sorts of objects. I have painted on at least 6000 matchboxes, on hundreds of transformer boxes, lampposts, loose windows, cardboard boxes, metal plates, wooden planks, doors, outdoor walls and fences and signs; on refrigerators, radios, ceramic tiles, televisions, envelopes, toasters, tables and chairs, cobblestones, roof tiles, bricks, gray, slate, mailboxes, barrels, guitars, watches, cars, bicycles, books, paper, huntonite and canvas – domestic, abroad, in cities and in the countryside. I have spilled paint on everything I have and had of clothes and shoes. Still, I hesitate to call myself a painter. "

The choice was between the word and the visual arts; the lines and colors in the visual art give impulses to words, but also vice versa.

Words are action (ref. P. 72). If words are not direct action, then they are at least an expression of an attitude, and attitude is the basis for action.

Along the way, an anti-interest in the potential of literature is articulated by a character assassination of the novel art: «[D] an imaginary world, the encircled, parallel life courses and situations that claim my empathy: the abduction from the everyday. What a joke! ” But the visual art is also unreliable: "At the same time as you receive the diploma for your exquisitely beautiful sense of image, a flock of little bastards hangs around your neck and will suffocate you due to the ugliness of your images or lack of content." Nordø writes so entertaining and at the same time with such a great risk that it is entirely possible, as he himself points out, that he may have become a visual artist by a misunderstanding. Doubts about the artistic format arise in the gap between the choice of linguistic or visual precision.

«I have painted on at least 6000 matchboxes, on hundreds of transformer boxes, lampposts, loose window cardboard boxes, metal plates, wooden planks, doors, outdoor walls and fences and signs; on refrigerators, radios, ceramic tiles, televisions, envelopes, toasters, tables and chairs, cobblestones, roof tiles, bricks, gray, slate, mailboxes, barrels, guitars, watches, cars, bicycles, books, paper, huntonite and canvas – domestic, abroad, in cities and in the countryside. " Guttorm Nordø

Nordø's linguistic awareness and fascination with text is related to a lifelong stay at the public library, and he points out that it should appear on his curriculum vitae: “I read books. Swallowed books. Stole books, collect books and arrange them systematically on bookshelves. During long, continuous periods, I consumed more than three books a day. My apartment was overgrown with books and paper, and life was complete paradise. ” Still, he finds that fiction has limited possibilities for DADApang !!!: "Do I lack humor, or are there just so damn few funny writers?" The answer to this question is Fredrik Stabel's celebration script Reason is a lonely thing (1984) and Nhonor image of a genius, Rolf Stenersen's artist biography of Edvard Munch (1945).

The final answer to the fact that he chose visual art is explained in the chapter «Language is trouble».

Since Nordø defines itself as a folk artist, it may be interesting to see that the text that describes a Christmas Eve horror experience "so heartbreaking and hideous" during the midnight mass in Nidaros Cathedral sometime in the 1980s, may seem (consciously or unconsciously) to stand in a historical context with the story «An old-fashioned Christmas Eve» from Asbjørnsen and Moe's collection.

The artist as very young

In the chapter "Children and art", Nordø talks about the immediate as the only guideline for artistry: "The only real thing about a work is the power it expresses: the energy that was present at the time of the act." Making pictures is "like answering the riddle no one has asked you to solve" (p. 241), "the artist must sacrifice Everything to the Truth (…) without revealing it".

As a young man, he learned from the child's drawing method (p. 84) in a here-and-now activity, "until she began to develop in the normal direction with houses, horses and princesses, while I set out to further develop the method" (p. 84). The text "An excursion to a better district" filler everything we have read before.

According to the book, the older Nordø criticized Dag Solhjell and "the taste elitists, critics, curators and bureaucrats, all of whom are eager to decide what really deserves respect". Here in Nordø's offensive two-point protest against what he perceives as a dressage of art: «1: Take a stand. 2: Shut up, keep working – and know that we know best. " This strategy should be brought up again in the debate about the Waste Ombudsman's scathing mention of art and artists.

TEXT! Art and such 1981-2020 is one of the finest,
most risk-averse and witty art books in 2021.

Marianne Solberg
Solberg is a new critic in Ny Tid.

You may also likeRELATED

Siste artikler

UtØya / JULY 22: In my opinion, the police could have panickedI transported 24 battered, shock-injured young people to safety on the mainland from Utøya. Several times I led the boat out to this hell on earth. Where were the police?
July 22nd / Generation Utøya (by Aslaug Holm,…)Utøya as a hotbed for budding party affiliation: This generation still cannot be gagged.
July 22nd / The legacy of July 22 (by Tommy Gulliksen)Tommy Gulliksen's second documentary about July 22 shows a vulnerability that is both reflective, wondering and sincerely honest.
Chronicle / The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority's "recognized" institutionsDo the authorities overlook research in the field of radiation protection? For example, damage from the pulsation of the AMS meters – or damage from weak electromagnetic fields, such as mobile phone radiation?
China / François Jullien's Unexeptional Thought (by Arne de Boever)Via the sinologist François Jullien, Arne de Boever reveals blind spots, dangerous prejudices and decisive differences in mentality in the meeting between East and West.
Handke / My day in another country (by Peter Handke)An eternal relationship of tension between the individual and the community. With age, has Peter Handke gradually given up on rage?
NATO / At NATO's disposal During the NATO exercise Good Heart, the "enemy" were striking workers and named Norwegian organizations.
Essay / I was completely out of the worldThe author Hanne Ramsdal tells here what it means to be put out of action – and come back again. A concussion leads, among other things, to the brain not being able to dampen impressions and emotions.
Prio / Silently disciplining researchMany who question the legitimacy of the US wars seem to be pressured by research and media institutions. An example here is the Institute for Peace Research (PRIO), which has had researchers who have historically been critical of any war of aggression – who have hardly belonged to the close friends of nuclear weapons.
Spain / Is Spain a terrorist state?The country receives sharp international criticism for the police and the Civil Guard's extensive use of torture, which is never prosecuted. Regime rebels are imprisoned for trifles. European accusations and objections are ignored.
Covid-19 / Vaccine coercion in the shadow of the corona crisis (by Trond Skaftnesmo)There is no real skepticism from the public sector about the coronary vaccine – vaccination is recommended, and the people are positive about the vaccine. But is the embrace of the vaccine based on an informed decision or a blind hope for a normal everyday life?
Military / The military commanders wanted to annihilate the Soviet Union and China, but Kennedy stood in the wayWe focus on American Strategic Military Thinking (SAC) from 1950 to the present. Will the economic war be supplemented by a biological war?
Bjørneboe / homesicknessIn this essay, Jens Bjørneboe's eldest daughter reflects on a lesser – known psychological side of her father.
Y-block / Arrested and put on smooth cell for Y blockFive protesters were led away yesterday, including Ellen de Vibe, former director of the Oslo Planning and Building Agency. At the same time, the Y interior ended up in containers.
Tangen / A forgiven, refined and anointed basket boyThe financial industry takes control of the Norwegian public.
Environment / Planet of The Humans (by Jeff Gibbs)For many, green energy solutions are just a new way to make money, says director Jeff Gibbs.
Mike davis / The pandemic will create a new world orderAccording to activist and historian Mike Davis, wild reservoirs, like bats, contain up to 400 types of coronavirus that are just waiting to spread to other animals and humans.
Unity / Newtopia (by Audun Amundsen)The expectation of a paradise free of modern progress became the opposite, but most of all, Newtopia is about two very different men who support and help each other when life is at its most brutal.
Anorexia / self Portrait (by Margreth Olin,…)shameless uses Lene Marie Fossen's own tortured body as a canvas for grief, pain and longing in her series of self portraits – relevant both in the documentary self Portrait and in the exhibition Gatekeeper.