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Bård Breivik, War Paint

Stockholm, 11.11–17.12  2022

Immediately when Bård Breivik got the diagnosis of a terminal cancer he started digging up the battle-axe. ”This will not get me!” was his response. His interest and admiration for the native North American Indians was well documented and he often referred to his childhood heroes as an inspiration for his work. Based in New York from the late 1980’s he sometimes visited the third floor of the Museum of Natural History. Here he found mask patterns and even paint powder for facial painting in small brown pouches. /…/ So he decided not only to fight back, but to create an extended art project to fight his own war. Craftsman as he was, he shaped his personal tomahawk and with a strong belief in unconditional resistance he drew up a canning plan to make the disease into art. He fearlessly stared at death in white eye without a blink. Bård invited acclaimed portrait photographer Anders Bergersen and professional make-up artist and body painter Linda Røhmen. Anders and Linda had four extensive sessions with Bård to complete the War Paint series, from April to October 2015. A fifth session was planned, where Bård wanted to add wet clay to the paint and get dramatic mud cracks on his face, a beautiful effect he had often noticed on the Indian warriors. But Bård rapidly became to weak for another session before he died in January.

Text by Sune Nordgren, excerpt from the book ”Bård Breivik – War Paint”, 2019

Works in the exhibition: