dinsdag 8 februari 2011

Nordic anarchism and NOMA's ethnocoockery

Redzepi with aboriginal guide in S. Oz.
Rene Redzepi's NOMA has been covered here twice before. The first post noticed that NOMA foraging breaks with the Mediterranean tradition of olive oil and fatty sauces, the second post was a rambling attempt to find something to say about NOMA and/as art. The fascination of NOMA is threefold: 1) it is obviously something different 2) the reliance on foraged goods can be said to represent a break with the culture of agriculture and the accumulation of goods and power 3) the return to Nordic traditions (and the making of them at the same time) takes a break from the old Catholic idea of Europe as a cultural zone that emerged from the south (most notably Italy) and civilized the north.

Andre Breton refused to visit Italy because he resented the dominance of Latin culture. Good man.

Looking through the '90ties urban exploration journal Transgression I suddenly realized there exists a predecessor to Redzepi, one who creates a connection between NOMA and the avant-garde traditions of the 20th century: Asger Jorn, the Danish painter and situationist angel investor. 

Let's quote Ann-Charlotte Weimarck on Scandinavian anarchism:
One of his basic ideas was that Nordic art was unique, that it together with what he called Latin art and Byzantine art built up European cultural history, which was thus based on complementary value scales, conditions and approaches. He was of the opinion that an unenslaved and undisciplined man existed in Scandinavia from the earliest times which also can be traced in the arts. Free and undisciplined living conditions were the reason that Nordic art differed for example from that of southern Europe. He based his opinion on the fact that slavery never appeared as a mode of production in Scandinavia. Here is the basis of what he called Scandinavian Anarchism. He also thought that the Scandinavian artist had a different role from his colleagues in the rest of Europe: here, our artists were neither divine nor enslaved, here, the artist was of the people and the art in Scandinavia was an integral part of the environment, it grew free and was what he termed "use-art". Furthermore, it was no primitive offshoot of classical art but was based on its own aesthetics, constructed on a "dissymmetrical" structure as opposed to the rest of European art which he believed was based on a centralized and symmetrical structure.
Did you know that foraging cultures persisted in Scandinavia long after the rest of Europe was farming? Parts of the quote, "art as part of the environment" can easily be reworded to fit NOMA: "food as part of the environment". Food as part of everyday life not something fenced in as 'art' by artistic professionals, artism. Redzepi is of course a professional's professional but as the Meemalee blog review of his London talk shows, he has an ironic sense of humour that you never get from watching Britain's Great Menu. It would be interesting to know what Redzepi (whose father is Macedonian) would make of this connection to the Danish primitivist tradition. Could you email him?

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