Erik Tidemann


Tidemann's artistic practice spans a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, video, and mixed-media sculpture. With an eye to the surreal and to the animalistic, Tidemann sources taxidermy for both inspiration and for physical construction material, granting his work and organic sensibility.

In creating human-like characters and their corresponding scenes, elements of mystifying horror, humor, and the psychological are entwined.

Tidemann is an active member of the Norwegian art scene, and has exhibited frequently within Scandinavia and abroad. He received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, and has been the recipient of many grants including the Natt&Dag Årets Kunst award and the Billedkinstnernes vederlandfond. - TM51



Who are you and what do you do? 
ET: I am a 35 year old boy currently living in Oslo working with sculpture painting and drawing.

COL: What characterize you work? How would you describe your personal style? 
ET: Romantic cheap and banal overtones of well made pieces with deep spiritual and political undertones that ranges from figurative to abstract 2 and 3 dimensional works cooperating together in bigger settings and sometimes installations if the budget let me do so.

COL: How do your own experiences influence your work?
ET: Everything I see and the life I live will if not consciously but subconsciously influence the pieces. So I try to be careful what I see and experience now and doing my best to understand the world around me, who I am and the life I live. Since the pieces I leave behind will be the result of this understanding for good or bad.

My childhood of growing up in the 80´s and 90´s when often single parents had to focus on their jobs to finance the family to survive. Kids where left to comics playing with action figures,  watching violent movies and basically doing stuff to entertain themselves when the family were unsocializing instead of doing activities together. So in a way it was a great time for expanding on cheap visual cultureand also great for the imagination you created within yourself. This will always be stuck in the visual aspect but the depth and further development of the work is crucial to how awake I am now. I cannot control what happens unexpectedly that always give the work a sideturn. 

COL: What will you be showing at the uncontaminated festival?
ET: I will show a piece called ¨The unexpected capture of the Garbage Snatcher¨. It is a taxidermy sculpture of a man beast made in Black bear fur that has been trimmed by a stylist to match his hungry anorectic thin body since the bear fur made him look fat. He is escaping the public after getting caught right handed stealing trash to survive clinging to the wall. He should be presented with a circular spot light around him in a dark room.

COL: What do you want to communicate through your work? Is there a message - political or otherwise?
ET: Every project and series I do has different messages and story behind it. I work with dualism so the piece or project could be as provocative or sympathic as the viewer see it. The pieces are often presented with a glorious trashy and cheap overtone with deeper undertones if you dig into it. Choosing one message for an entire artistic lifespan seem pretty monotonous and unrealistic when the world around is changing so rapidly. When the world change the message change but the visual aspect stay true to its natural path of development.


COL: Do artists of today have some kind of of social responsibility?
ET: Yes of course. But many are misinformed and work as a heard of sheep with the same pack mentality trying to do what the rest say is right. So what mostly goes public is as deep as any other commercial cultural person who is mostly worried about their own being, social status and reputation than what would be right for society in the end. Finding the truth is a full time job and artists need to produce work also. So there you go. 

COL: What does uncontaminated mean for you? 
ET: Exposure.

COL: What is the most important thing in your life?
ET: Making pieces and taking care of my dog.

COL: How do you feel right now?
ET: Happy and energized full of mighty power.

COL: If you could change one thing in the world today, what would it be?
ET: Preventing the certain death of culture and stop the babylonian growth.


COL: What are the main reasons you are joining us for the festival this year?
ET: My Oslo gallerist asked me if he could display one of my older pieces he has in storage in a public place. Sounds good I thought.

COL: What is the most important drive for you to create and why?
ET: It is the collector obsession to expand my collection of work and the pleasure it gives me to create it. Even if I sell parts of this collection the pieces will always be mine except they have left its nest and living out their own lives with someone else out of my control. Same as raising a child and forcing yourself to let it go after growing up or splitting up with your girlfriend I guess. When the piece is done the pleasure and love story ends and it is time to seek it again within a new piece to find meaning within my existence in this life. If you can’t let this go after completion it will be hard to start over again and continue to create. So it is a never ending cycle that cannot be broken if I should stay happy and healthy.

COL: Who or what do you value as a great inspiration for you creatively?
ET: Managing to enjoy being isolated and connecting with my self for very long periods.
A good studio that feels like home.
Working at night sleeping trough the day.
Observing the world trough the internet.
Faith in the gods.
A dog that loves me so I stay emphatically grounded and caring.

COL: Can you elaborate on an important moment in your life where you experienced a big change, chose to make one or another event which altered your way of thinking or your approach to creativity ?
ET: Yes when I was 9 and my father died. I stopped making drawings that was nice on my mothers wall and in stead started drawing out my aggression.


COL: How does digital and social media affect or inspire your life and creations?
ET: The digital age in terms of my own work is dead to me. I embraced it from 2001 to 2007 but realized what I cannot touch in the making and physically connect to does not work for me. Everything digitally from documentation and keeping myself organized this way is extremely challenging and depressing. I stopped having a website and market myself this way. My fear of disappearing in the highly expanding art scene with more and more contributors who wants to be seen and earn money is forcing me to use social media such as Instagram to my dislike. At least I have learned that quality of the work is not connected to popularity. In terms of being a observer of the world the digital age is excellent. You have so many sources of getting information from and putting the different sources together to get a clearer picture of how the world we live in work and what is true or false. So in terms of inputs to my pieces this process has helped a lot and made them deeper and less banal.

COL: What is your definition of artistic freedom?  
ET: To stay true to your expression when the world around you is changing visually in terms of trends, popularity and sales. It is more a question about the recipient who display the work from the degree of challenge the work gives the viewers and the ethics of the society. In the popularity contest it is always easiest for the recipient to go for the work that gives the least negative feedback and hassle and display what is currently trending. 

COL: Is there a difference for you between art and commercial/commissioned work? 
ET: No.

U: Do you struggle to find artistic freedom in the span between commissioned work and your personal needs to express yourself?
ET: Yes, very much so indeed. I won’t change my expression so I only get commissions from private sectors and collectors.

COL: What do you aspire to? In the near future? In life in general?
ET: I will continue producing my work and what happens is up to the gods to decide. My enjoyment is only within the production.

COL: How do you feel art and fashion intervene?
ET: They seem to intervene more and more every year or at least many people try to do so outside the art scene to enlighten their own commercial business.
Designers, Photographers, Street Artists, Tattooers, Models you name it wants to be part of it. The art scene to me is anti fashion. When a certain style gets picked up by the fashion industry,  commercial businesses and the main stream it becomes the death of the expression and a reminder it is time to move on with the experiments.

COL: What is a great example of a fashion art collaboration in your view?
ET: I do not have a great example of this. The only reason to collaborate is exposure to boost sales and further opportunities that commercially businesses bring along to survive and stay independent.

COL: Where do you think art and fashion is heading in our digital age?
ET: It is certainly not climbing in my point of view. It worries me and as I said earlier I feel it is a slow death where also art is starting to go in repeating trends in stead of keeping the avant garde alive. Even views on the avant garde can be self contradicting at certain points but I am talking about the ideology of searching in the unknown for new discoveries.