Our Grand Oslo Story: Dystopian Pop Art (2019)
By Ingrid Katrine Amundsen
KEYWORDS: DYSTOPIAN POP ART • CONTEMPORARY ART • DEHUMANIZING VIEW ON MODERNITY
HATE is a strong word, so is LOVE! Pushwagner, nevertheless, became the Avant-gardiste, whom fellow artists, art critics and (art) dealers; in Oslo, Norway, loved to hate, and hated to love. He is the story of our most beloved, hated and controversial contemporary Avant-gardes. It is therefore fitting that a man who could arouse such strong, passionate and sincere feelings; about himself, his lifestyle and his art, should have his own house; his own – Pushwagner Museum.
Pushwagner was born 2th of May 1940 in Oslo; as Terje Brofos, and later took the artistical moniker; Hariton Pushwagner (1971-2018); 'Hariton' from Hari Krishna, and 'Pushwagner' from supermarket shopping trolleys (pushwagner.no, 2018, wikipedia.com 2018, theguardian.com 2012). He ended his long fight for contemporary art 24th of April 2018 – 77 years; in Oslo (pushwagner.no, wikipedia.com 2018, nettavisen.no 2018). His funeral took place at Kunstnerenes Hus, also in Oslo: it was a funeral that will linger in our minds; one which has turned historical in the contemporary art world of Oslo – Pushwagner's funeral was the first to appear in the artists' own house (nettavisen.no, 2018). Pushwagner was born, raised, studied; and ended his career, in his beloved and hated; Oslo, though he spent the 1970s in London, where he met his first wife; Sally Borfos (1972-). After a short stay in Stockholm living at Axel Jensen's boat, he met his second wife to be; Ellen Elisabeth Alstad in 1982, in Oslo; whom he moved to Skien with. After 13 years of marriage; described as a 'war zone' by Alstad (in Wenneck Aas 2015), Pushwagner found him selves back in the streets of Oslo. In Oslo, where Pushwagner spent most of his career as an artist; his legacy and spirit, should; with ease, house a museum, where it may flourish and continue to shape contemporary art; where his soul belonged. Pushwagner's life and profession; as an artist, is not just a story of a hated and loved man, but also – a story of Oslo. Since Pushwagner's began his story of Oslo, and since the biennial in Berlin and Sydney; in spring 2008, his dehumanizing view of Modernity; visualized through mindblowing and groundbreaking artworks, has experienced great resurgence, captivated us, and gained significant international influence. Pushwagner invites us into an explosive and staggering world of dystopia, sci-fi and pop art. The reward is evident: Pushwagner's vivid imaginary and story of Oslo, has entered the international and contemporary art scene. His artworks and lifespan, has also become prominent pieces of a story of contemporary art internationally. Pushwagner is a story of an influential, genuine and flamboyant Avant-gardiste. Almost throughout his career as a professional artist, he was marked by personal losses, disruptive and upsetting conflictual situations, such as a 'marital breakdown', 'heavy drug use', 'sleeping rough'; in sum a disturbing downwards spiral, that was turned into a chronicle of a compromising 'topsy-turvy' lifestyle (theguardian.com 2012). But, as an artist and father he sparkled and shone! He aroused from lightness and darkness! The art he created was simultaneously dark (dystopian) and light (pop), hence; you may call it dystopian pop art. With his dystopian pop art, Pushwagner also stood out as one of the key figures of the contemporary Avant-garde movement in Oslo, and one of the core pioneers of the radical frontiers of Norway. From 2008 and onwards, he was targeted by the spotlight of courtesies internationally, though; in Oslo he had been 'the one to watch' since the 1970s. In the 1970s, Pushwagner created a dystopian view on Modernity; visualized through a graphic cartoon; The Soft City, in collaboration with the Norwegian author Axel Buchardt Jensen (Pushwagner 2008). Pushwagner's dehumanizing view on Modernity; his dystopian pop art; with elements of sci-fi, brought him into the spotlight of Oslo's contemporary art scene. In the spotlight, Pushwagner's artworks radiate and illuminate our souls, and leaves us thundering – speechless! We hate him, we love him, and everything in between, but LOVE surely triumphs!
Pushwagner is – Our Grand Oslo Story!
Nettavisen (2018). Pushwagner Bisatt fra Kunstnerenes Hus: - En Kamp er Over. Available at: http://www.nettavisen.no/nyheter/innenriks/pushwagner-bisatt-fra-kunstnerenes-hus--en-kamp-er-over/3423483419.html [Accessed: 01.02.2019].
Pushwagner, H. (2018). Pushwagner. [online]. Available at: http://www.pushwagner.no [Accessed: 12.30.2018].
Pushwagner, H. (2008). Pushwagners Soft City. London?: No Comprendo, pp. ??
The Guardian (2012). Artist of the Week 202: Hariton Pushwagner. [online]. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/aug/09/artist-week-hariton-pushwagner?intcmp=239 [Accessed: 12.30.2018].
Wenneck Aas, A.L. (2015). -Det var Beintøft å Leve med Han. (Interview with Ellen Elisabeth Alstad). Available at: http://www.ta.no/kultur/pulsen/pushwagner/det-var-beintoft-a-leve-med-han/s/5-50-113803 [Accessed: 01.02.2018].
Wikipedia (2018). Hariton Pushwagner. Available at: http://no..wikipedia.org/wiki/Hariton_Pushwagner [Accessed: 01.02.2018].