Marie Lundquist, author:

In the summer of 1894, using his favourite pen, the venerably named Sir Joshua Mason 1001, August writes his collection of short stories, Getting Married. That August must have realised the explosive power of his stories is revealed in statements such as: “It is the worst, but most beautiful, witty, swinish one I have written.” And: “The hermaphrodites will tear me to pieces!” Well, it didn’t turn out quite that bad. He was prosecuted for “blas- phemy against God or mockery of God’s word or sacrament” but was, in the end, acquitted of the charges. The same year as the short stories of Getting Married were written, August painted the dramatic, blue-and-black painting which he entitled Golgotha. For the viewer the choice of title is not imme- diately apparent. However, if one follows the waves in the lower part of the painting, three slim, white crosses appear in the distance. As if the biblical resurrection has changed places and is now enacted far out at sea.

Being publically accused, with all it entails in the form of attention (and, not least, the chance of playing the martyr!) was perhaps not only a negative thing for someone who cherished being the centre of attention. However, August found it more difficult to fight his private battles, and particularly those of his marriages. In the headphones, on the viewers’ bench, one can listen in on a trial of a more intimate sort, that between the partners Axel and Helene, who are filing for divorce. But who will take custody of their little son? There is no happy ending in sight and once again August’s words, “pity the humans”, ring all too true.

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