Odd Nerdrum

You see we are blind, part II

April 27 – May 25, 2022

BGE Contemporary Art are proud to present the exhibition “You see we are blind, part II”, a solo exhibition with paintings by Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum. This exhibition is the second solo exhibition by Nerdrum in Norway in almost 24 years. The exhibition will be on view from the 27th of April until the 25th of May.

Odd Nerdrum (b. 1944, Helsingborg, Sweden) holds his education from the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts. As he rejected the principles of modernism and conceptual art, he began teaching himself the style of classical figurative painting. 17th century icons like Caravaggio and Rembrandt were a primary guide. Today, Nerdrum is recognized as one of our most important contemporary artists. He has gathered a dedicated group of followers, The Nerdrum School, who share his passion for the old principles of classical figurative painting.

Nerdrum caught the public eye early on with artworks such as “The Murder of Andreas Baader” (1978, Astrup Fearnley Collection). First exhibited at The Autumn Exhibition in Oslo, he forged unbreakable bonds between himself and the definition of the postmodern painter: A fine balance of mastering the classical figurative craftsmanship with political controversy, made an impact that still color our collective understanding of Nerdrum’s oeuvre.

The critic of societal structure that “The Murder of Andreas Baader” exemplifies, can at a first glance seem to have faded in these newer works. But, looking more closely, we find that Nerdrum’s criticism may have reached its final form: The search for universally human feelings and conditions has led Nerdrum to a world of images that is fully free from external societal influence and outside governance. Even though the visual expression of his paintings carry its signature focus on classical form and composition, Nerdrum has intensified his themes through focusing solely on the fundamentals of universal human experience.

A recurring motif in Nerdrum’s later works are small groups of sparsely clothed people in desolate landscapes. Often, they are pictured as an independent - and at times a lonely - constellation, totally cut off from external and moralizing authority. Loneliness as a theme, and explorations of dystopian landscapes gives Nerdrum’s paintings an acute relevance for contemporary society. Issues connecting to individualism and unstable tendencies in the world at large speaks to us and demonstrates Nerdrum’s success in his pursuit of capturing the human universal condition.

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