Paul Auster

Paul Auster

Unhappy Unrest

Paul Auster is one of the USA’s most important contemporary writers. In this short video, he speaks his mind about the growing right-wing and Donald Trump: “I think he’s the most dangerous being that has ever existed in public office in the United States.”

When asked about the growing tensions between old-time allies Europe and the United States, Auster feels that there are more similarities than differences: “It seems that both of us – Europeans and Americans – are in some kind of crisis. The post-war world that we’ve been living with for the past 72 years is changing, and how it will settle I don’t really know yet.” Brexit, Donald Trump and the “the right-wing populist movements growing up in all countries” are all signs of how there are a lot of unhappy people out there, who want things to change, but don’t know how to: “There’s a lot of unrest.” In the past, people had ideologies such as Marxism to lean on when looking for answers: “Right now, I don’t see any new ideologies coming up to explain the world to people.” This, he feels, makes the present “a particularly confusing moment.”

On the subject of President Donald Trump, Auster is very clear: “I can’t tell you how revolted I am by him, and how disgusting I feel he is. He’s stupid and ignorant… I just pray he doesn’t stay in office very long, or that his own incompetence will prevent him from doing all the harm I think he wants to do.”

Paul Auster (b. 1947) is a highly acclaimed American novelist. He has published numerous novels such as the ‘The New York Trilogy’ (1985-1987), ‘Moon Palace’ (1989), ‘The Music of Chance’ (1990), ‘Leviathan’ (1992’), ‘The Book of Illusions’ (2002), ‘Man in the Dark’ (2008), ‘Sunset Park’ (2010) and ‘4321’ (2017), as well as autobiographical books such as ‘The Invention of Solitude’ (1982), ‘Winter Journal’ (2012) and ‘Report From the Interior’ (2013). He has also written screenplays for several films, including ‘Smoke’ (1995). Auster is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Prix Médicis Étranger (1993) and the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. From 2018 he will be President of PEN America.

Paul Auster was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in August 2017 in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Jørgen Leth & Alex Da Corte

    The Perfect Monster

    Watch the celebrated Danish poet and film director, Jørgen Leth (b. 1937), and a sparkling star on the art scene, Alex Da Corte (b. 1980), talk about the latter’s shot-for-shot remake of – and homage to – Leth’s iconic film ‘The Perfect Human’.

  • Riad Sattouf

    Advice to Young Cartoonists

    Watch the acclaimed cartoonist Riad Sattouf draw while sharing his advice for colleagues: “Be careful with advice, it’s not always good. Find your own way of expressing yourself, everything is acceptable, there’s no one good way to draw or not draw.”

  • Jean-Marc Bustamante

    The Notion of Landscape

    “I think art is not very useful, it’s a question of what you feel.” Watch the acclaimed French artist and photographer Jean-Marc Bustamante, who merges photography and painting, and whose starting point is always the concept of landscape.

  • John Giorno

    A Visit to the Poet

    “Poetry never dies. You can’t kill poetry.” We called on John Giorno – one of the most influential figures in contemporary performance poetry – in his legendary home on the Bowery in New York, to talk about the innate freedom and possibilities of poetry.

  • John Giorno

    Inside William Burroughs' Bunker

    Step inside ‘The Bunker’ in New York, the windowless former apartment of legendary writer William S. Burroughs, and let yourself be guided around – from Burroughs’ typewriter to his shooting target – by its current resident, iconic poet John Giorno.

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Colson Whitehead

    I Have to Know the Destination

    “I became a writer once I realised no one liked my stuff.” Watch Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey’s favourite author, Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead, on how rejections of his first stab at a novel made him realize that he wanted to pursue writing.

  • 11 Artists

    First Encounter with Art

    “That was the beginning of my film and photography career – my first image ended up under the Russian soldier’s boot.” Watch Jonas Mekas, Laurie Anderson, Paul Auster, Gerhard Richter and 7 other acclaimed artists on how they began their career.