You can often give a better description of the fight between people, the essentials of it, by means of fantastic animals, the simple, primitive, naked instincts, than by depicting a specific situation. It is not the human animal we should describe, but ourselves as human animals.
If the image was sketched onto the canvas and spontaneously drawn, colour would often be restrained and unfree... The most important and the most difficult liberation process we went trough, the one that has distinguished our art, was the freeing of colour, the transition to a painterly spontaneity.
My work is based on a tradition quite distinct from the Eckersberg tradition, a Nordic line of development that had never been clearly and consistently defined in the literature on art. This line is not a straight one; it has the strangest and most fascinating twists and curves, and includes such artists as Edvard Munch, Ernest Josephson, Hill , Hansen Jacobsen, Johannes Holbek, Jens Lund, and Emile Nolde. Not all of them equally well known.
In 1939 I wrote my first article ("Intime banaliteter" [Intimate banalities] in the journal Helhesten ) in which I expressed my love for sofa painting, and for the last twenty years I have been preoccupied with the idea of rendering homage to it. Thus I act with full responsibility and after extensive reflection. Only my current situation has enabled me to accomplish the expensive task of demonstrating that the preferred sustenance of painting is painting.
The great work of art is the complete banality, and the fault with most banalities is that they are not banal enough. Banality here is not infinite in its depth and consequence, but rests on a foundation of spirituality and aesthetics.
The artistic formulae wear thin quickly and yet daily the artist - when developing his own foundation - must enter his own time and the problems of other contemporary artists. Paths cross and the soil of time is starting to be turned.
There can be no question of selecting in any direction, but of penetrating the whole cosmic law of rhythms, forces and material that are the real world, from the ugliest to the most beautiful, everything that has character and expression, from the crudest and most brutal to the gentlest and most delicate; everything that speaks to us in its capacity as life.
We are not disillusioned because we have no illusions... What we have and what is our strength, is our joy in life... in all its amoral aspects. That is also the basis of our contemporary art.
The significance of something lies in its presence here and now. I don't care what it has been or what it will become. It is the experience of things that matters, the confrontation with things.