The biggest problem you can have is of course being mainstream: being white, male and heterosexual.

Matias Faldbakken, born in 1973, lives and works as an artist and writer in Oslo. Son of the celebrated Norwegian author Knut Faldbakken, he published two novels, The Cocka Hola Company and Macht und Rebel, as part of the Scandinavian Misanthropy trilogy under the alias Abo Rasul. Drenched with acid humour and continuously below the waistline, his books immediately caused a considerable stir in Norway.

His protagonists struggle with postmillennial phenomena such as the ‘coffee-tableization of everything’ or the idea of the ‘survival of the hippest,’ and an unhealthy amount of hatred for everything around them. Intended as severe attacks on the tolerance of ‘humanistic cultural workers,’ his books nevertheless turned out to be everything but refused.

This vicious circle of the subversive – each critique in the cultural field being not only immediately absorbed but also turned into a cultural good, and therefore soon tuning into the mainstream – is also part of his topoi as a visual artist. His non-literary works also deal with the chasm between mainstream and underground, independence and commerciality, and the possibilities of an intervention of the artist and his utopias in the real world.

Faldbakken studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Bergen as well as at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. In 2005, he represented Norway in the Nordic Pavillion at the Venice Biennial, as well as showing his work amongst others in the Wrong Gallery at the Whitney Biennial, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the National Museum Oslo, the Sydney Biennial and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin.

At the moment, Matias Faldbakken is writing the third installment of the Scandinavian Misanthropy trilogy.

Interview by Severin Dünser and Caroline Muntendorf
Artwork by Matias Faldbakken
Photography by Henrik Drescher
Design by Anders Hofgaard

Unfortunately, mono.kultur #07 is now sold out. But you can download the screen version of mono.kultur #07.