Karl Ove Knausgård

Karl Ove Knausgård

Writing After 'My Struggle'

This open-hearted talk with Karl Ove Knausgård is the first and – according to the writer – last about his new project. And about fame and writing from a “total inferno,” the text being the flashlight pointing towards a mountain, leaving most in the darkness.

Karl Ove Knausgård’s literary mammoth project ‘My Struggle’ ends with a line stating that he will no longer be a writer: “I was very much inspired by Bowie who also ‘killed’ his Ziggy Stardust persona. My thought was that the novel was also a kind of persona that I wanted to let go off … I wanted to stop being a writer in the way that I struggled with in that book,” Knausgård explains. The Norwegian author also reveals the dark side of the picture in regards to his international fame: “The amount of success that I have achieved is very dangerous because it goes to your head.”

“I was tired of introspection, tired of psychology,” says Knausgård, who started writing a letter to his unborn daughter, not knowing it would become a four volume book project following the seasons. Thus Knausgård moved his attention from the inner world to the outer, which resulted in four volumes of short essays on such things as a toothbrush, sunglasses and a pail mixed with diary entries about his family and everyday life. Knausgård describes how he wanted to tell his story without ‘using himself’: “In this book I’m not the main thing; my relations are,” he says, pointing especially to volume three, ‘On Spring’ which he also reads two parts from on stage. The breakdown of his wife is the centre of the narrative – “a total inferno,” in Knausgård’s own words, that he nonetheless had to be included because it’s a part of life.

In this interview Knausgård also reveals two future projects, one following the footsteps of Norwegian artist Edward Munch, the other being ‘pure fiction’ with six characters. On writing after the rise of social medias and the ‘age of selfies’, the author states: “I think literature is the opposite of social media because it tries to anchor the self in a reality that is binding. It’s not shallow, it’s about commitment.”

Karl Ove Knausgård (b. 1968) is a Norwegian author, internationally recognized for ‘My Struggle’, a novel in six volumes spanning over 3,000 pages in which the author describes his own life, not least portraying his father who died of alcohol abuse and its consequences for the author, mixed with essayistic prose. Knausgård has received several literary prizes for ‘My Struggle’. His latest project is a four volume series following the seasons, published throughout Scandinavia in 2015-2016.

Karl Ove Knausgård was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, in August 2016.

Cameras: Anders Lindved & Rasmus Quistgård
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Ed Atkins

    Something is Missing

    Ed Atkins is considered one of the most unsettling contemporary artists – as well as one of the most exciting. In this video, the young British artist shares how he works from written texts, and why melancholy is at the centre of his animated digital videos.

  • Louisa Gagliardi

    Longing for Something Else

    “Art is amazing because it’s in a way unnecessary, but extremely necessary as a testimony of its time.” Let us introduce you to a rising star of painting, Louisa Gagliardi, who creates her surreal work digitally and adds layers of paint to the printed image.

  • Hannah Levy

    A Design Purgatory

    “I wonder if the reason why people want to touch it is that they’re in some way attracted to it, or if they’re repulsed by it.” Meet the young artist Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.

  • Dora Budor

    Acting Things

    “I want to use art as a field where I can explore parallel scenarios.” Dora Budor makes complex sculptures and interactive installations inspired by cinematic metaverse and scientific research. Join us as we visit the young Croatian artist in her studio.

  • Ian Cheng

    A Portal to Infinity

    Watch Ian Cheng, a rising star on the art scene, talk about his trilogy of animated live simulation works – ‘Emissaries’ – which work like a never-ending video game in real time: “It was a process that was on-going as life is on-going.”

  • Yona Friedman

    Advice to the Young

    What piece of advice would a renowned 94-year-old architect offer young architects? Find out in this short video, where Yona Friedman argues that architects must always adapt to the context and work for the average user.

  • Jan Gehl

    How to Build a Good City

    “We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.” Meet the 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl, who for more than fifty years has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people “re-conquer the city.”

  • 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’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • 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.