Up jump the devil
by Alex Nodopaka
Let's start with saying that art is a window to seeing the imagined and the fantastic. On second thought maybe not since. I use a set of tools entirely different from that of Odd Nerdrum. I consider the making of traditional figurative realism art with traditional tools, paint and brush, a doubtful pursuit in the modern age when at the fingertip of a keyboard and a camera button one can create within hours thousands of pictorial deformities. Why distortion? Simply following in the footsteps of the previous models who for the last 70 years or so who have done it with great success to the point of public acceptance. Besides, reality as seen directly no longer lives up to human expectations as much as does not a purely descriptive poem unless it contains simile and allegory. The post expressionists and the artists preceding and following have been virtual copycats and that doesn't exclude my presentation here. What I have done is present Odd Nerdrum in a what if situations. What if he painted only in black and white, What if he painted in a cubist manner, What if he painted my pastiche compositions.
Anyone's art I would choose wouldn't matter because I concentrate by making an issue of the individual and not their chef d'oeuvres. The artist's artworks speak for themselves. For the purpose of illustrating the following essay I chose artist Odd Nerdrum whose reputation needs no introduction as it all can be viewed on public websites such as http://www.nerdrummuseum.com/Paintings.php
Photography I consider a perfect child of realism and it has displaced realistic paintings. One exclusion is the self taught visionaries whose mentally challenging and provocatively obsessive artworks are so blatantly ambiguous but then they literally fall into natural arcane surrealism. Then you have the imitators of art naïf, art brut etc. i.e. academically untaught that draw and paint strictly from the gut. Then in the sixties artists used monkeys and elephants to paint. All these passing circus fads only demonstrated the boredom of the artists of the traditional painting. In the process they entirely put off their audience and customer base.
So, for the Spring Issue of Vayavya, I have chosen my own artistic experimentations to be displayed for the critical scrutiny of the readers.
Starting in the mid 20th century, art for the sake of art, for instance, has reached an
apogee of absurdity in avoiding figurative characteristics and presently culminating with the expressionist exhibitionist performance artists.
For instance there's a woman performance artist who feels it necessary for her to be
naked and the sight of her physique surely deserves to be seen. Out of view of the spectators, which I strongly resented since that alone was performance art in deed, she spreads her legs and inserts in her vagina a full size chicken eggshell filled with paint. She straddles an elevated platform with a gap and by a series of contortionist vaginal movements she releases one egg at a time out of her orifice onto a carefully laid out canvas directly below. Her main action is the expulsion of the paint-filled egg and aiming her projectile at a blank segment of canvas similar to the painter loading their brush with paint and expressively applying it to the canvas. In addition at the end of the performance she folds the painted half of the canvas over the unpainted portion and thereby obtains a perfect Rorschach pattern. A nice psychological touch!
Then there is a theatrical performer who towards the end of the play points a fake gun to his head and pulls the trigger with a gush of tomato sauce splashing his head except that one time he missed and blew his nose off turning a tragic moment into comedy.
The difference between the artists is the degree of exhibitionism though the end result is very similar to what ends up on the canvas.
For all practical purposes one could duplicate her feat by eating food with coloring and periodically dump it onto a canvas with as much success except for the span of time between the dumping which one could use to recite bits and pieces of the histrionics of art. Being envious of her feat one attempted a similar feat by spreading one's legs between the stars, which being too spread out and too vast for one all one got out of it was a serious crotch distention.
In conclusion, I still believe in a steady hand work with maybe a brush or two for the
final touch ups and for the art to be preferably of portable magnitude. Of course, today, I have replaced all the old tools with my PC and my drawings for this exhibition are O.P.A.'s (Other People Art): Odd Nerdrum's in this case!
My pieces using Odd Nerdrum chef d'oeuvres have the distinguished permission of The Museum of Nerdrum to freely manipulate his images and convert them as if by his spirit if not his hand. All images are courtesy of the artist, all images are copyright of Odd Nerdrum.
Because of all the artists of the last 50 years he's the principal only to have used old
masters' techniques and styles to transform our perspective of the meaning of the human figure in visionary contexts and visionary articulations that challenge our mind every minute we look at it. That is where Odd Nerdrum's originality lies. We don't have to connect random dots and lines and squiggles and we don't need a thousand words to describe it. Our imagination furnishes an incalculable variety of feelings in front of the spectacle of his incongruous subject matter.
After all my critique of figurative art why did I choose Odd Nerdrum? Because he is a figurative artist par excellence? Art that doesn't resemble a common vision is too arcane and for an accented difference I used mostly black and white renditions for a graphic effect since I consider color to distract.