The Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nedrum, developed a deeper, philosophical understanding of the term Kitsch and in 1998, The Kitsch Movement was born. This movement surrounds a group of classical painters attempting to bring positivity to the term, defining it as being similar to the ars of ancient Rome. My goal is to offer insight into this movement.
Kitsch, the German term used to describe anything of a distasteful or cheap nature, It is believed to have originated in the mid 1860's but it was not until the 1930's that it became prominent. Using the Old Masters technique, Kitsch paintings often depicts imagery that portray aspects of life such as romance and death. These paintings also reflect sentimentality, melodrama and humor, often doing so in an ironic manner which lends to it having a unique sense of appeal. This unique style of artistic expression, with it's postmodernism, blurs the line of what "real art" is and has long been the target of much mockery and scrutiny. It is said that Kitsch thrives off of imitation by using repeated formulas, causing it to lack the originality and creativity, as well as the sincerity of true art.
Art theorist, Clement Greenberg, argued that Kitsch does not contribute to the development of art but instead sets it back by being focused on the past. It is the belief of Odd Nedrum that Kitsch art serves as a form of self expression rather than aimed at pleasing the public, as is the case with modern art. He declared himself a kitsch painter and upon reading the essays of another Art Theorist, Herman Broch about kitsch, he went on to publish his first book "On Kitsch" in the year 2000 with the help of other authors like Jan-Ove Tuv. In this book Odd Nedrum gave further insight into his views about Kitsch. His second book "Kitsch- More Than Art" was published in 2011. Jan-Ove Tuv, Kitsch painter and member of the Kitsch Movement along with Helene Knoop, launched the website WorldWideKitsch which serves as an international community to bring these figurative painters together, providing an opportunity for them to learn more about Kitsch and view artworks from other artistes that share the same passion.
Truly a platform for self expression, The Kitsch Movement embraces individualism and that which goes beyond societal and cultural norms. This movement has already earned a great deal of supporters and could potentially become a global phenomenon.