Retrospective - Steinar Haga Kristensen

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Steinar Haga Kristensen
Retrospective: On the Un-Subjectified Persona

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MF: The owl in ”Owl” from 1998 – why does it have a beak and a mouth?

SH K: Well, the owl was supposed to look desperate and frustrated. And beaks don’t really express that much emotion. The eyes of an owl always already have this desperate stare. So in order to make it look frustrated and desperate I had to … smudge representation a bit. Tweak reality.

MF: That’s something you have …

SH K: … yes, that’s something I try to focus on. How to make something that has the aura of desperation – but which is not
necessarily desperate per se – look desperate for real? My show Brunt og Vanskelig at Galleri Trafo is all about that. How to make not really desperate, but desperate looking art, look even more really, really desperate.

MF: Art desperado.

SH K: You can’t blame an owl for being desperate just because it stares at you with its wild eyes.

MF: Isn’t nature desperate? Just look at those greedy little animals in the park. Insane. The birds.

SH K: These are desperate times. But do we recognize them as desperate?

MF: No?

SH K: The early paintings you could say … is the First Blood of my artistic career.

MF: First Blood as in Stallone?

SH K: Yes, Stallone.

MF: I would say they look more stoner than … Vietnam veteran. That’s perhaps not a contradiction, though. Either way, they have the stoner pallette, the stoner brushwork and not to forget the stoner subjects.

SH K: An owl?

– From the interview Plantational Aesthetics by Matias Faldbakken