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Viggo performing in Solos at Teatre Romea, Barcelona

Images © Teatre Romea.

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Images from Buenos Aires

Our thanks to Carolina from for sending along and sharing these images from Viggo's book signing in Buenos Aires on September 16. They give us a good idea of what must have been a great event.


It was my first meeting with Viggo, He was at the presentation of a book as you know, I could give him a present after so much time, I write a little note, I told him that it was something of San Lorenzo and he looked at me, and I gave him a kiss, I thank him and he said thank you, all in Spanish, of course.

Click on Images to Enlarge

© hiddlestonarg. Images © hiddlestonarg. Used by permission.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

For those that like to neatly label creative people as an 'actor', 'artist', 'photographer', 'musician' or 'writer', Viggo presents a challenge. Surely only one thing can be a serious career, and everything else has to be dabbling? One thing I've always liked about Viggo is that he has always completely understood that creativity is a state of being. Being creative is what you are, not what you do. Trying to put a truly creative person in a box is impossible because they just can't see the sides.

In memory of our friend Peggy, all the photos I've chosen are by Deryck and taken at the various artistic events they shared.

'A photo, a painting, a poem or music that we use to express our experience is not the main thing, but what you are expressing. How you sense the world around you is art in its own form. To stop for one silent moment and just see what happens.'

Viggo Mortensen
Margt til lista lagt article from Fréttablaðið
Translated by Ragga
June 2008

'Inspiration is a notion, an impulse that has its own shape, before you stumble onto it. If you're in too much of a hurry, you try to tell it what it is, instead of having it tell you what it is. And I think if you do that, you're gonna miss out.'

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen ('80) Remembers
By Macreena A. Doyle
St. Lawrence University, 2003

'...if one can decide to become an actor, it's not the same for art - there is no starting point, it's there, in you, that's all."

Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen: The Soul of a Warrior
by Juliette Michaud
Studio Magazine
December 2002

'I've always loved the kind of isolation that comes from intensely devoting yourself to art forms like painting or poetry or whatever. That's also what makes being an actor so fulfilling in that you can share the creative process and get out of your own head.'

Viggo Mortensen Goes Back to His Roots for 'Everyone Has A Plan'
19 April 2013

"Creative expression is social change. Wear your feelings on everything you do. It will help people open up their minds and see themselves and their communities in new ways."

Actor Viggo Mortensen urges expression
by Kaci Yoder
Desert Sun
7 July 2013

"People who are creators create," he says. "People say to me all the time, 'Why don't you just focus on one thing?' And I say, 'Why? Why just one thing? Why can't I do more? Who makes up these rules?"

Viggo Mortensen
Finding Viggo By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 200

'To be an artist is to remain conscious of your surroundings, and I believe that we all have that capacity. Children have it and, as they grow up, they lose it.'

Viggo Mortensen
I wouldn't look the Alatristes of today in the eye
By Oskar L. Belategui, translated for V-W by Margarita
Hoy Sociedad
3 September 2006

Asked about his favourite medium - photography, painting or writing - Viggo Mortensen says it's all part of the same continuum. "You ask the question, you investigate, you make that extra effort to be aware and express your reaction to your surroundings," he says. "Whether you paint or act or write, you're giving importance to a given moment, a place, an emotion, and you're communicating the discoveries you've made as you engage in that process. So in that sense, everything is connected."

Viggo Mortensen, Photographer
Massey University

'I'd do it [acting]for myself anyway. Before I got into acting, I was interested in one way or another in photography or writing stories or poems or making drawings or something because I like doing it. That's who I am. That's my way of being in the world. I imagine I'll keep doing things that way. Who knows? Part of being in the world is being open to changing your mind. But so far, I haven't changed my mind about that. That's what makes me comfortable.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Sense of Finality
by Markus Tschiedert
Green Cine, 2003

He has mounted a half-dozen solo exhibitions in Cuba, Denmark, New York, and Los Angeles. His New York dealer, Robert Mann, says he had no idea who Mortensen was when he first met him four years ago.

"The Lord of the Rings wasn't out, and I was clueless about that part of his life' Mann says. "I saw the work and responded to it on its own merit. There's a lot of volatility to it, a lot of emotion, a lot of subtext and sensitivity." Mann says that, typically, celebrity art implies an underlying dilettantism. But Mortensen "is not a dabbler. I consider him a very lucky and talented person. Most artists are lucky to express themselves in one avenue."

Robert Mann, New York Gallerist
Finding Viggo
By Alex Kuczynski
Vanity Fair magazine
January 2004

"....he's incredibly gifted as a visual artist. He is a very multifaceted and slightly compulsive individual, constantly creating in every medium. His creative energy is boundless; I assume acting is another extension of that."

Robert Mann, New York Gallerist
In the Spotlight But Shining On Its Own - Celebrity Art
by Lisa Crawford Watson
Art Business News, 2001

?does he worry that people will just dismiss his eclectic works as mere half-arsed nixers of an over-indulged Hollywood star?

"I was drawing and painting and writing poems before I did acting, but people are going to make up their own minds about you anyway," he replies. "I feel it's personally a waste of time and inevitably a frustrating exercise to try to accommodate others all the time, or to try to please everyone.

Analysis of dream career
by Declan Cashin
Irish Examiner
15 February 2012

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Deryck True.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Long before there were books there were spoken poems - the roots of literature lie in verses recited around camp fires and in ancient halls. Viggo is a poet who still believes that listening to the words of a poem instead of reading them is a worthwhile experience, creating a different kind of connection between the poem and the listening audience. The spoken word has been included on most of his recordings, he still gives poetry readings - most recently to promote the work of poets he believes in - and on one brave day in 2003 he stood up at a peace rally and gave everyone there the full force of Back to Babylon. Before enjoying the quotes, it's worth listening again to Viggo reading aloud - first an excerpt from the recent recording of TS Eliot's The Waste Land and then reading his own early poem, Wading, from Recent Forgeries.

Eliot's The Waste Land


"Poetry is something that I'd always done, long before I even thought about the idea of acting," he recalls. "But I'd never done it in public, read anything. As an actor you're always reading someone else's words, and then what you do gets edited. So there's several screens through which you're speaking, if at all. As a poet, it's your words."

Viggo Mortensen
In The Navy
By Joy Ray
September 1997

"Exene... encouraged me to recite my poems in public. At the beginning the idea was totally worrying for me. But something happens when you are faced with an audience. No matter whether you present photographs, pictures, movies or poems to other people, it's worth it because you always learn something."

Viggo Mortensen
Two-Men Show
By Silvia Feist - translated by Always Smiling and Doreen
Vogue Deutsch
November 2005

On record, Mortensen's speaking voice--especially in Spanish--actually is more melodic and alluring than his singing. Confident and clear, he draws listeners in as he spins tales of deceit and humor.

That confidence is exhibited again on the new spoken-word record "The New Yorker Out Loud Vol. 2." The two-album collection includes readings by musician Chuck D and actress Suzy Amis. But it's Mortensen's readings of selections from Jack Kerouac's "On the Road Journals" that are truly mesmerizing. That he scored and mixed the avant-garde jazz in the background is an added bonus.

Sensitive Side of Psycho
By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun Times
16 December 1998

"I started my own publishing house, which I have called Perceval Press, after the legend of the knight who is freed from his spiritual blindness when he is initiated into the mysteries of the Grail. We publish authors who have found it difficult to get published. Poets, mostly. It is important to protect living poetry, which is also why I participate as often as I can in public readings."

Viggo Mortensen
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
By Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine
December 2003

"....if you´ve written a poem and you read it, you don´t know what will happen. Something changes between my mouth and the eyes and ears of those who are there reading or listening to my words, my little story. Something changes between writing it and pronouncing the words. I don´t know what the reader receives. There´s no net. For that reason, I'm responsible for what I´ve written and for how I read it."

Viggo Mortensen - All of Us are Mestizos
by Carlos Shilling - translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio and Zoe
November 2010

Thousands of people take part in the first great pacifist demonstration in Washington since George Bush announced, on May 1st, the end of military operations in Iraq. Viggo speaks, following veterans and activists. After distributing his anti-war teeshirts and protesting against the occupation of Iraq, he addresses Congress with a fierce: "God isn't angry, you are." Then he reads one of his poems, written for publication on the website, Back to Babylon, from which an extract follows:

"Accept and forget difference and desire that separates and leaves us longing or repelled. Why briefly return to playin broken places, to mock the ground, to collect infant shards, coins, fossils, or the familiar empty cannisters and casings that glint from poisoned roots in the blackened dust?"

25th October - A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
By Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine
December 2003

Mortensen began the evening by lighting a candle and quoting a phrase by poet S.A. Griffin. 'We are here for the sweet stigmata of the poem. And here's the news.' The breathless, packed room received the news, and it was clear from the moment Viggo spoke that this was poetry's night.

Three Fools poetry reading
National Poetry Month Starts At Beyond Baroque With Three April Fools
By Philomene Long, Poet Laureate of Venice
Santa Monica Mirror
27 April 2006

...he begins reading. He's nervous. "I don't slur when I read other people's stuff," he jokes, and the crowd laughs indulgently. But he soldiers on, losing himself in the rhythm of his words.

They were always giving birth, always pregnant, always taking ****ing for granted. They were not being brave when they dug up the skulls of their past lovers in the middle of the night and painted them for use as Jack O'Lanterns. It was summer and they were crazy about each other.
("Hallowe'en" 1990)

Maybe it's the visceral attack of his writing, or the R-rated shock of hearing Aragorn cuss, but the audience's attention never wavers.

Midnight Special poetry reading
Viggo Trip
By Liane Bonin
Flaunt magazine #39
November 2002 became quickly obvious when Viggo Mortensen read that he was in a league of his own. Not necessarily for anything spectacular he does with the readings of his poems, in fact he almost delivers them in a monotone, but in his ability to let the poem shine through him like a beacon. He acts as a conduit for his poems so that we are free to make our own interpretations of his work, rather than imposing an emotional reaction on us.

Music Review: 3 Fools For April, Spoken Word
Richard Marcus
15 Feb 2007

Despite his American accent, Viggo Mortensen's reading of the poem [Eliot's The Waste Land] comes closest to the voice I hear in my head as I read. Being able to read and listen along and then close my eyes as the words wash over is luxurious and something I want to be able to do with lots more poems. In fact this feels exactly how poems should be consumed.

The Waste Land App reviewed
by Chris Meade
The Literary Platform
13 June 2011

"The success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy changed the deal a little. Before then, when I put on a poetry reading, there would just be a circle of my friends around me. Now there are hundreds of inquisitive strangers. If fame can make an under-appreciated art better known, it's perfect!

Viggo Mortensen
Grazia Magazine
Translated by Chrissiejane
December 2009

'It's great if someone who never would've gone to a poetry reading goes to one because they're thinking, "Oh, that actor guy's doing it - it'll probably be shit, but we should go and see it anyway!"'

Viggo Mortensen on 'The Road'
By David Jenkins
Time Out
7 January 2010

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © Isabel Nunez.

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Final Installment: Fan Report from Buenos Aires

Translation by Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zoe
Source: Viggo Mortensen y Alrededores .
Found By: Santa
With thanks yet again to Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zoe we can now bring you the final installment of Santa's report from Buenos Aires.

We also want to thank Santa for her wonderful report and for sharing in her enthusiasm.


Santa's Report - The Final Part

Córdoba - December 2, 2010
Córdoba - December 2, 2010
Image Eliana Gorelick Czenik.
© 2010 Negro&White.
Part 7
After the readings, they let people ask questions. That was when they asked how he had come to know Talo's poetry, which I've already told you about, and the whys of his strong connection with Argentina. That's where he told more or less what appeared in the articles and what he always says, that he went to live in the USA and missed the language, that he looked for El Lagarto Juancho and Patoruzito [comic book characters], the same as I did (we're the same age), also the trading cards for soccer players. An exiled Chilean asked Talo about exile and suffering and at the end, a young guy thanked Viggo for being the way he is and well, he doesn't like compliments much, so he said he was going to sign the books first, that if people had other things [to sign], that could wait until the end, that he'd sign them just the same but afterward. He asked us to form a line and in spite of Argentinians being so disorganized, soon afterward, after he signed for the most eager people, we were lined up in a dignified line, fortunately. I took just a few photos of Viggo; there are only 5, but with the first shots that Carolina already posted, more aren't needed. Farol will finish off the night, the things I've forgotten about. [....]

Part 8
Yesterday morning, I was queuing up in the Court House where El secreto de sus ojos, that won the Oscar, was filmed, and then I thought I had never given Viggo anything. When in 2008, a few days short of his 50th birthday, I saw him looking so sad in SL, I felt bad about not having given him anything. So, I said to myself that the best present for him was a book. I went to Avenida Corrientes and bought a compilation of love poems by Mario Benedetti. I thought he would like that.

I got in line with the CD and little book of Canciones de Invierno and the beautiful book by Talo Kejner. One of the two girls from SL explained to me how her camera worked and asked me to take a picture. I did and I hope it has come out right. There, a rather rude girl who hadn't bought anything, overwhelmed him to have her picture taken with him, to which he agreed, but was slightly annoyed. The girl kept bothering everybody about the picture, and then he asked her, "It hasn´t come out right?" while she was looking at the camera and talking loud. Viggo, annoyed, gave her a scalding look . It was my turn then, and I thought what a pity that he got upset (and he had right at this moment). I chose to approach him from the side, loaded with bag, umbrella and the present for Viggo. Then, although he was looking serious, I gave him Canciones de Invierno to sign. He asked me my name and I asked him softly whether Talo, the poet, could sign his book Las pequeñas grandes cosas for me. He liked that. He looked into my eyes and, very politely, said, "Certainly, of course. That's why he is here." I then told him that I was asking because I didn't know if he wanted to sign. (Nobody was asking the poor man, who was sitting there looking, for his autograph. It was not fair.) Then he asked Talo to sign and gave him my name. He loved me asking for Kejner's signature, which was a great pleasure for me. Then, before going to Talo, I took out the little bag and said to him, "Now, Viggo, I want to leave you a present from a cuerva to a cuervo." He started laughing, saying, "You too? Look, look!" while showing me the pins he had on his shirt pocket. Then I told him, "But this is not from SL. It´s a book of poems by Mario Benedetti; do you like him? I saw you posted some of his poems in Perceval." "I love him!" he said to me. "What's the title of the book?" And then I drew a blank and said to Viggo, "I don´t remember. I think it's Love, Women and Life. It's a compilation of his best love poems." He then said to me, "Come and give me a kiss." And I said, "Of course, Viggo. How would I not give you a kiss!!!" And, well, he gave me a kiss. A great guy. What can I say. Then he posed for the picture with me (I hope that the girl who took it sends it to me) and he gave me another kiss!!!! Girls, this time I really got lucky!!!!!!!

When I went to Talo, Viggo was telling him he had to put my name and I said to this excellent poet that he wrote wonderfully . He's got an incredible gaze. He must have been a very handsome man when young. His gaze is crystal-clear and his eyes are very beautiful, but they also transmit pain. He wrote my name in the book and "A pleasure" and his signature. And he said it to me several times, a pleasure, and I said to him, "A pleasure for me, and thank you very much." Viggo, who while signing was looking at everything, when I left said "Take care." "Thank you, Viggo, you take good care, too." By far my best experience with Viggo. There I realised that what matters most in this world to Viggo is giving to another and I understood the act of love he had made for that elderly man who is getting to the end of a very painful life and who never was acknowledged as a poet.

This man had been writing during all of his life and his work had never been read by anyone. In Talo's voice, when he thanked me for asking for his signature, I felt the excitement that it caused him. That is, that someone AT LAST recognises his value as a poet generated a tremendous emotion in me that left me hanging around while Farol was taking pictures. I must say that they have generated a current of affection that cannot be described with words - that's the true meaning of "being humane". Well, I don't want to bore you with my story, but I still don't understand why so few people asked Talo to sign his book. Everybody wanted Viggo's only. A pity, because this man is a great poet and now I keep his book and signature like a treasure. What else is there to say but to thank Viggo for giving us the opportunity to come to an event so warm, and cosy. That is the synthesis of the true man, in the flesh. The characters, the cinema, etc. are all worthy, but this is the best in him. And it goes beyond the subject of SL, which although it's a passion, is something else. Here he shows the truth in himself and in his soul. That is what I felt, only my perception, subjective, mine. Others will see other things. [...]

© Santa - Translation by Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zoe. Images © Eliana Gorelick Czenik.

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Last edited: 31 May 2023 15:42:13