For those of you who have shown up to this page in the hopes of finding a picture gallery of Viggo Mortensen, I apologize. I realize that most of you have been led here by a Google image search that returned this link, leading you to think that perhaps you would find a whole strew of images. Unfortunately all you'll find here are a series of links leading to reviews I've written of Mr. Mortensen's books of art, photographs, and poetry.
In an effort to offset that disappointment somewhat, I've decided to update the page a little and have now included excerpts from each review beside each link. I know that's not much of a consolation prize, but there are plenty of other sites you can go to and find pictures of Mr. Mortensen, while I think this is one of the few pages on the web where you can find links to reviews of nearly everything he's published. Of course there's always that x in the top left hand corner or the back arrow to take you back to your search if this really isn't what you want. For everyone else - read on and enjoy.
The other thing you should know is that do not come here looking for reproductions of his work, be it poem, photo, or painting. I may not have much respect for the big businesses that publishing or music have become, but small independent publishers like Perceval Press who publish Mr. Mortensen's work among others have my undying respect and admiration for attempting to produce meaningful and thoughtful work in a world where very few people care to even think anymore. So in their instance copyright is sacred.
This seems an appropriate time to say thank-you to the fine people at Perceval Press for giving me access to Mr. Mortensen's work in the form of review copies. I must have been doing something right because they actually let me come back to the well not twice but three times. So if through this page I'm able to increase their sales by even one or two people (HINT HINT) that would be a good thing.
Finally of course my appreciation goes out to Viggo Mortensen for creating such an amazing body of work that inspired me to write, I believe, more eloquently then I have in a long time. It was a wonderful challenge to delve into his works and see if I could find the words to describe how they affected me, and attempt to analysis them in as thoughtful a manner as they had been produced. There have been only a small number of artists in my life who have been able to remind me about the reasons I began trying to figure out my own means of expression years and years ago. Viggo Mortensen is one of them, and for that I will be ever grateful. Perhaps think of this page as my thank-you note for that invaluable service.
The majority of us will now probably go our entire lives without setting foot in anything resembling a forest, or at best visit one of the domesticated versions where neat roadways and paths lead you through ordered rows of new growth and the occasional old veteran bearing the scars of the axe that failed to fell them, Yet for those of us willing to make the effort to strike off on our own and enter into the forest world, the experience can be close to mystical. The noise of civilization has ebbed into silence and we stand there alone with only floating pieces of light and dust, occasional bird song, and small animal life for company. Open Skovbo to any page and be amazed at the beauty and wonder that can be found beneath a tree, or in a forest.
Open IForget You Forever to any page, photograph or poem, and you'll either be given a moment stolen out of the while of time and frozen for you to look at and think about. Or there will be a presentation of time speeding by so fast as to be nothing more than a blurring of light or the flicker of images from an old super-eight-movie camera.
Someone once wrote that the truth shall set you free, but I offer this codicil of if you are willing and strong enough to face up to the truth.Miyelo is the truth of the history of North America, may you have the courage to observe it and absorb it.
An artist strives to create work that will linger, that will exert a pull upon those who read, see, hear, or watch what they have created. One could look for deeper meanings, deconstruct it in true post-modernist literary tradition, in an artist choosing the word Linger as a title, but not this one. I'd prefer just to let the work speak for itself; it has a nice strong, clear voice that talks to the heart and the mind.
Intelligence Failure by Buckethead and Viggo maybe seen by some, even its creators, as simply a commentary on the Iraq war and its circumstances, but that's just one symptom of a much larger intelligence failure. Buckethead and Viggo have created an aural sound collage with the intent of trying to open people's ears to a new way of listening to the same old words and maybe hearing something a little different then they heard the first time round.
It is easy, as I've shown in this article, to get caught up in intellectualizing art and what it should and shouldn't do. Listening to Viggo Mortensen and Buckethead's renditions of Viggo's works on This That And The Other is to be brought back to the direct immediacy of art and to be given the opportunity to experience a creation first hand from its creator
After plunging into Recent Forgeries and reading, looking and listening (a CD of Mr. Mortensen reading some of the poetry in the catalogue is included) one gets the impression of a mind that is constantly in motion and an eye always on the look out. He might see and hear things in ways we don't and draw conclusions that perhaps we wouldn't have from those observations, but he is not afraid to try and explain his vision to us.
Signlanguage is an interesting step back in time in the career of Viggo Mortensen the photographer and painter, as it shows him starting to trust his emotional instincts with camera more and more. Gradually he is starting to use black and white film as often as colour and showing a willingness to let things happen as they will instead of trying to wait for or frame the perfect moment.
45301 appears to me to be a collection of works in which Viggo Mortensen is exploring the interrelationship between motion, colour, light, and dark. Whether through the lens of his camera or in the darkroom afterwards, or even in the production of the book, he has created examples and captured moments that exemplify that theme. The sign of a good artist is that he or she is able to create work that causes people to think and form opinions that they can argue in favour of coherently. You heard my opinion, what's yours?
Mr. Mortensen has managed to capture aspects of the horse's character and our relationship with it that is very rarely depicted anywhere. Without words or descriptive titles I learned more about horses from this book than any encyclopaedia or reference book I've glanced through in the past. There have not been many occasions where I've been fortunate enough to be around horses, but this book brought back memories of those times as effectively as watching a movie. All that was missing was the quick hop to avoid stepping in something you'd rather not, but aside from that it was just like being in the company of horses. (The Horse Is Good)
I>Mo Te Upoko –O-Te-Ika/For Wellington is an opportunity to see the two sides of Viggo Mortensen's photography, the abstract and the realistic, and reach your own conclusions about which you find more effective emotionally, artistically, and visually. Each has it's own unique perspective to offer on the world and each has something different to offer the viewer.