Internationally renowned Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum has played the role of both national treasure and art-political rebel since the 1970s. As the founder of the Kitsch movement, he opposed the abstract and conceptual art that dominated Norway at the time in favor of honoring the old world traditions of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. His outspoken views against the modernist “art establishment” and socialist art programs in Norway has elicited backlash from his peers and, as he claims, negative attention from national authorities.
In recent years, Nerdrum’s life has been plagued by health issues and legal woes. In April 2016, just weeks before his latest solo show “Crime & Refuge” opened in the U.S., the 72 year-old was sentenced to prison and barred from leaving Norway on charges of tax fraud. Given his recent troubles and longstanding status as an outsider, it’s no surprise that “Crime & Refuge” would offer a rather bleak perspective on the human experience.
The paintings on exhibition are filled with archetypal themes of judgement and exile, mirroring the narrative based style and figurative technique of the Old Masters. Nerdrum utilized the ancient “Apelles palette” using only yellows, reds, blacks and whites to create the apocalyptic landscapes where these dramatic scenes unfold. The works are on display at the Booth Gallery in Manhattan through July 30th. Learn more about Odd Nerdrum and his work in the latest issue of Hi-Fructose.
Left to right: David Stoupakis, Aprella Barle, Scout Opatut, David Molesky, Vincent Castiglia Opatut
Left to right: Jeremy Hush, Sophie Reapstress
Left to right: Roberto Ferri, Simona Gatto