Mind-Building – Catalogue of the Exhibition in the Pavilion of Finland at La Biennale Architettura 2018
Odd Nerdrum – Making Painting Great Again is a richly illustrated book with texts by the philosopher Carl Wegner Korsnes and the artist Odd Nerdrum himself.
“Painting as a discipline is ruined; it’s time to make painting great again.” Thus sounds the masterly painter’s philosophy and these are his main points: first and foremost, the painter is a craftsman; in addition, the painter should seek what is always relevant.
Nerdrum’s idea of making painting great again means reintroducing a concept of craftsman-like quality. Again, one should be allowed to say: “I’ve made something wonderful and I’m proud of it.” It is no coincidence that Aristotle is the thinker who has most influenced the kitsch philosophy. He claims that craft has its utility and value as a means of mediation.
Mimesis, or representation, is of value not only because one finds joy and insight in recognising a motif, but because one can recreate action in a painting. All human feelings take form in action. Stories that utilise familiar scenes and archetypal situations are, according to Aristotle, of greatest value because they are expressions of the universal.
Odd Nerdrum gives the discipline of painting back to the people. Art is for the sake of Art. Kitsch, however, is for humans. Removing the intrinsic values of art makes painting a tangible phenomenon again. The feeling of usefulness will return and thus the value. Painting is elevated to old heights. Painting is made great again.