The soft whiteness and the gaping blackness, both were perfectly still, all was completely motionless and it was impossible not to be reminded of how much of what surrounded us was dead, how little of it all was alive and how much space the living occupied inside us. This was why I would have loved to be able to paint, would have loved to have the talent, for it was only through painting this could be expressed. Stendhal wrote that music was the highest form of art and that all other forms really wanted to be music. This was of course a Platonic idea, all the other art forms depict something else, music is the only one which is something in itself, it was absolutely incomparable. But I wanted to be closer to reality, by which I meant physical, concrete reality, and for me the visual always came first, also when I was writing and reading , it was what was behind the letters that interested me. When I was outdoors, walking like now, what I saw gave me nothing, snow was snow, trees were trees,. It was only when I saw a picture of snow or of trees that they were endowed with meaning …
This was the problem with all representation, of course, for no eye is uncontaminated, no gaze is blank, nothing is seen the way it is. And in this encounter the question of art’s meaning as a whole was forced to the surface. Yes, OK, so I saw the forest here, so I walked through it and thought about it. But all the meaning I extracted from it came from me, I charged it with something of mine. If it were to have any meaning beyond that, it couldn’t come from the eyes of the beholder, but through action, through something happening, that is. Trees would have to be felled, houses built, fires lit, animals hunted, not for the sake of pleasure but because my life depended on it. Then the forest would be meaningful, indeed so meaningful that I would no longer wish to see it."
— Karl Ove Knausgaard My Struggle volume II
— Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle vol. I