A New Novel

Bjarne Melgaard


Book, 23.5 x 16 cm, 296 p, language: English, publisher: Aschehoug & Co, Oslo, ISBN : 9788203350337.
Materials: Ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2026/286).

Literary synopsis

The nameless protagonist in A New Novel is a widely recognized New York artist. Abuse is at the center of the novel, both in the protagonist's childhood and in a scene in a basement in Brussels, in which a man is presumably killed. The protagonist meets David, with whom he falls in love with completely, and soon it falls in a dynamic of transgression, fornication and violence.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

In November 2012, New York City gallery Luxembourg & Dayan opened A New Novel by Bjarne Melgaard, an exhibition that coincided with publication of the artist’s novel. Working closely with a group of leading designers and craftspeople, Melgaard transformed  the gallery’s space into a completely immersive environment that uses his new novel’s story – its protagonist’s tortured infatuation with a doorman and the willing degradations of a surrounding cast of characters – as a point of departure to plumb further the through-line of his entire practice:  an exploration of the ways in which sex and violence dovetail with love and loneliness. Each room became a colorful, crammed tableaux occupied by ‘dolls’ acting out the types of violence that figure centrally in Melgaard’s book. More than 150 dolls of different sizes have been made for the show, occupying a sequence of vignettes that unfold on three floors. The rooms where the dolls appeared were furnished by Melgaard with rugs and layers of patterned wallpaper of his own design. Melgaard also has deployed the dolls for a stop-action animation ‘snuff film.’ In this “surrealist garage sale” atmosphere, Melgaard presented new paintings, as well as more than sixty new drawings in which the Pink Panther, Britt Ekland, and Peter Sellers serve as surrogates for characters from both his novel and the larger pantheon of recurring figures in his overall body of work. Among this fantasy cast, for example, is the American porn star Savannah, who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 24.

Novel's website

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: Artworks Cite Novel.

Genre: Autobiography.

Publishing: Publishing House.

Theme: Desire, Homosexuality, Love, Sex, Violence.

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