Klaus Rifbjerg

Klaus Rifbjerg

A Little While Longer

Klaus Rifbjerg (1931-2015) is one of the great masters of Danish literature. In this deeply personal and moving interview from 2013, the writer looks back on his life and literary career, reflecting on what it means to age – and to die.

“It would never be fun if it wasn’t serious.” Rifbjerg started writing because he didn’t feel represented by the contemporary literature and therefore felt the need to write his own. This sense of wanting to take the next step forward and to always speak his mind has been present in his work from thence, which also made him an avid social commentator.

Rifbjerg, who divided his time between Spain and Denmark, also contemplates what it means to be Danish. Though he is essentially proud of his nationality, he is not afraid to point out flaws and doesn’t pass up the opportunity to express his concerns and his contempt for the nationalistic Danish People’s Party: “The moment I leave the country the Danish People’s Party gets another seat. I can’t stand it! So I ought to have stayed at home, not that you can talk any sense into them – but maybe you could strangle some of them.”

Klaus Rifbjerg (1931-2015) was a Danish modernist writer, who authored an impressive number of novels, poetry collections, essays, short story collections, plays (for TV, radio and stage), film scripts, children’s books and memoirs. His breakthrough was in 1958 with the novel ‘Den kroniske uskyld’, which was made into a movie many years later in the 1980s. Other books include his debut ‘Under vejr med mig selv’ (1956), ‘Konfrontation’ (1960), ‘Camouflage’ (1961), ‘Amagerdigte’ (1965), ‘Anna (jeg) Anna’ (1969), ‘Tukama’ (1984) and ‘Knastørre digte’ (2009). Among his many honours are the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize, known as the “little Nobel” (1999), The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize (1970) and the grand prize of the Danish Academy (1966). Rifbjerg was also a renowned journalist, critic and editor.

In the interview Rifbjerg reads from the following works: ‘Edgar’ and ‘Skyggespil’ (from ‘Intet sikkert abnormt’ 2013) and ‘Den kroniske uskyld’ (1958). An extract of Danish actor Sofie Gråbøl reading the poem ‘Hjertets termometer’ is also featured.

Klaus Rifbjerg was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at the Louisiana Literature festival at Louisiana Museum of Modern art in 2013.

Camera: Klaus Elmer, Mathias Nyholm and Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

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 works 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.