Matias Faldbakken Interview: An Element of Vandalism


“Vandalism is the posture of the weak.”
“My writing became ventilation for my frustrations on the art scene.” Meet Norwegian visual artist and writer Matias Faldbakken, who has been described as “one of Scandinavia’s most important and most provoking authors.” In this video, Faldbakken talks about how both his novels and his art centre on the antagonistic. Read less …

Faldbakken shares how he often feels like a writing artist rather than an author, having come to writing through making art. What he found in “the solitary practice” of writing, he explains, was the process of creating a world from nothing “like I did when I was drawing.” Faldbakken talks about vandalism as a recurrent theme in both his art and his written work: “Vandalism is the posture of the weak – it’s an act of desperation, and it’s sort of a furthering or a handing-down of another violence. It’s an aggressive and powerful answer given by someone in a weak position.” Though his more recent books are seemingly calmer, Faldbakken continues, they still have the theme of the antagonist, and he shares how he often copies, samples, and steals from other writers without crediting them. In continuation of this, Faldbakken discusses his work ‘Book Sculpture’ (2008), where he tore down books from the shelves at a public library in Oslo: “I always found that when books are thrown on the floor, or when books are falling out of the shelves, it’s actually a very iconic or deep image of a system collapse… People don’t like to see books out of order,” he explains, adding that he wanted to take that feeling and recreate it as a sculptural presence.

Matias Faldbakken (b.1973) is a Norwegian visual artist and writer. Faldbakken made his literary debut in 2001 with ‘The Cocka Hola Company’, the first part of his Scandinavian Misanthropy Trilogy (2001-2008) published under the pseudonym Abo Rasul. The second part ‘Macht und Rebel’ was released in 2003, followed by ‘Unfon’ in 2008. Other books include ‘The Hills’ (2017) and ‘We Are Five’ (Vi er fem, 2019).

Matias Faldbakken was interviewed by Klaus Rothstein in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in August 2019.

Camera: Anders Lindved

Produced and edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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