I other

  • Artist: Ludvig Eikaas
  • Creation date: 1970
  • Object type: Print

Not on display


A major focal point in Ludvig Eikaas’s production was the art of portraiture, above all self-portraits, carried out in various media and techniques such as painting, print, and sculpture. This is by no means unique, and art history is rife with self-portraits that in different ways shed light on eras, isms, and identities. Nevertheless, few portraits in Norwegian art history have sparked off as much debate as Eikaas’s I. Many viewed the picture as an outburst against “tall poppy syndrome”, that is, the petty, self-righteous belittling of people who are seen as different or successful.

The artist himself, who was always ready to laugh and who liked to comment on his works, said that this was probably the shortest autobiography that had ever been written. “It is a naked picture,” he said. “It is a picture-initself.” He also alluded to his own and others’ school experiences, to the painstaking efforts to learn penmanship and to the teacher’s repeated admonition to never begin a sentence with the word “I”. But in Eikaas’s picture, which he created many variations over, the Norwegian word for “I” – jeg – shines brightly in uncertain handwriting, as though written on a blackboard.

What is special about the picture is that the artist has created not only a self-portrait, but also something that all of us can use. I does not necessarily have to be an ego trip, but also encompasses something more, as in Hans Børli’s poem “Graffiti”.

I dip my fingers into the sky /And write on the sunburnt earth: / I / A single letter, a single, small word, but still, / The entire world crawls into it / Like a snail in his house at night / Lying there all rolled up / Dreaming of rain

Text: Karin Hellandsjø

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Ludvig Eikaas

Visual artist

Born 20.12.1920 in Jølster, death 06.09.2010

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Jeg (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Streketsning på papir
  • Width: 420 mm
  • Height: 495 mm
  • jfr. påskrift
Kjøpt 1995
Inventory no.:
Part of exhibition:
Ludvig Eikaas. Retrospektiv, 2010
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Ivarsøy, Dag Andre
© Eikaas, Ludvig/BONO