Art and the occupation- Frithjof Tidemand-Johannessen

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What has been happening in the population of the occupied countries?
Why do we have to say definitely “yes” to the forces the war has driven to consciousness?
Everywhere the opposition to the German occupation made it clear that if the struggle were to succeed, all the illegal forces in the nations had to gather – the desire for resistance and the will of each member of society had to be bound together in one front. Otherwise, the resistance could be split and knocked down without much difficulty. And because the gathering of such a front means that the goal of the struggle is formulated as clearly as possible, much of the population of the occupied countries was awakened to clear awareness of its importance in the freedom movement.
The artists’ position in this common resistance has been unclear. Not that they have adopted a different attitude than the only right one – not that they are, in themselves, less aware of the gravity of this war – but because most of them consider themselves outside of this question.
The reason is the inter-war’s attitude to the intellectual life which is most clearly characterized by the individual artist’s isolation in itself. The subjective absolutism – the fear of losing its very special character – the struggle to make beauty more and more exclusive – created the belief that the artist’s inner reality forms the sole, fixed point of existence. But in this “self” philosophy of life, there was no room for the sense of belonging to the other members of society. The consequence was that artists – in indifference or exalted contempt – lost contact with the forces that this war has shown carry every part of the struggle.
Understanding that these forces are not separate phenomena of no significance – that they are not only moods in the atmosphere of the occupation – but on the contrary, they are the expression of the will to live free – that understanding grows in all sections of the population, but not among the artists.
So it applies
Not to be artistically sterile –
Not to lose contact with our base –
– we must actively participate –
Make as much effort as we require.
Otherwise, we artists stand outside and lose any right to demand responsiveness to out creations.
We must not forget that we are also members of the community – that the condition of creative work is organically linked to the form of our nation’s life …

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