The hypothesis of this dissertation is that contemporary Norwegian painter, Odd Nerdrum (b 1944), uses tenebrism as a mode of beauty and a device to emphasise psychological states of being. Tenebrism is an effective kitsch device to create an impression of realism and so-called truthfulness while pointing to the deepest human sentiments and emotions. I argue that Nerdrum’s tenebrist art questions dark truths about modernity and its effect on the self. The darkness of his tenebrist style amplifies the emotional states of his human characters, and becomes a negative form of transcendence into absence and the power of its nothingness. Nerdrum’s paintings are a visual record of the human capacity to withstand selfdestruction and strive for restoration from the inane. His physical act of painting opens and refines consciousness by slowing down time, for insight and contemplation.
Dissertation (MA (Fine Arts))--University of Pretoria, 2008.