Photo: Tore Røyneland / Henie Onstad Archive
A chubby, childish-looking Napoleon rides with his sable victoriously raised to the sky over the carpeted floor of one of the Prisma Rooms at Henie Onstad.
This was about 40 years ago. The sculpture was part of a solo exhibition of the Columbian artist Fernando Botero (1932-), which opened on March 6th, 1980.
Born and raised in Columbia, Fernando Botero trained for several years to become a matador before he pursued his dream of becoming an artist. Selftitled "the most Columbian of Columbian artists", his art shows a lot of South American naivity and lush humor, while his use of colors reflects the influence of Paris and Europe where he has resided for the greater parts of his adult life. His spacious paintings and his sculptures of Latin American people, trim animals and ripe fruit, as well as paraphrasing many of the master pieces in art history, can appear both humorous and critical, depending on situation and context. In fact one of his sculptures were blown up by terrorists in his home town of Medellin.
«The burlesque humor and refined ironi of these paintings are being exhibited in a time where Norwegian seriousness is at its worst. It serves as a real vitamin refill and an indignant stimulus, thus making this exhibition very well timed»
Dybing uses words such as lazyfat, apathetic gluttony, elephant diseased, pepperpot fatty, bloated and trim tyrant to paint an image of the exhibition.
Botero blows up the shapes and magnifies the details of his motifs. His brush strokes and effects of fabric in a silky smooth style, is often referred to as «Boterisme».
«Well-fed images that address issues in relation to the social and political situation in his home country. With smooth irony he portrays the priesthood, army and politicians»
On the occasion of his 1980 exhibition, Dagbladet wrote: "His special style consists of making all his motifs appear fat. Not to mock fatness in itself but to evoke what is typical and special about the motifs, which in themselves can be bisarre enough."
Words: Martine Hoff Jensen