I’ve never read anything by Knausgard, but this does make me a little more curious to read him. When the cabbage painting came on the screen, my first thought was, death is always out there, waiting. I was a bit surprised when Knausgard then mentioned it and saw the same thing. I guess when you get to middle age and beyond, some things become impossible not to see.
I was lucky enough to see a Munch exhibition in Paris in the late ’90’s. I was transfixed and moved. Munch might as well have been standing there talking to me. The canvases were much larger than I was expecting and they had what I can only describe as an aura. I’ve experienced this a few times with great works of art. It is a kind of magic. Unfortunately, there is no way to experience this kind of work without being in its presence. Fortunately, the same is not true of all art forms, including writing. When writing is magic, it can be reproduced for anyone and everyone to experience – as long as you can read the language in which it was written that is (and sometimes the magic is so powerful it even comes through in translation). In a world where the people in power are fighting against the humanities, it’s important to remember that kind of magic is always around us. We are going to have to fight if we want that to continue to be true.