Rodin painted before he sculpted and throughout his youth oscillated between the two disciplines. Indeed his paintings, remarkably, seemed to possess the same elasticity as clay; as if brush marks and lines were continually evanescent, so alive and flexible were they that they seemed to change in a moment.
Now in his mid-forties, Nico Widerberg, too, works across the disciplines. During the last twelve months he has responded to a relentless programme of exhibitions in Greece, America, England and, of course, Norway, as well as countless commissions, lectures and interviews, Reacting positively to the ever-increasing demand for his work, he has moved effortlessly between sculpture, painting and printmaking with the consistency of an artist who is entirely at one with himself and his materials
His difference from Rodin in his pictorial work lies in the timelessly elemental nature of his figuration which seems, even when materialising on canvas, to have been born from granite. Still, when Rodin reflected on beauty it could have been Nico Widerberg’s work that he was describing: “Beauty”, he wrote, “… is character and expression. And there is nothing in Nature that has more character than the human body. Through its force and grace it evokes the widest variety of images. At times it is like a flower: the way the torso bends is like the stem… At times it is like a supple creeper … At other times it is an urn … The human body is first and foremost the mirror of the soul and its greatest beauty comes from that…”
Rodin’s last sentence, one scarcely needs emphasise, goes right to the heart of Widerberg’s oeuvre.