The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography, now on view at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, brings the photographic work of the master painter to NYC for its first showing in the U.S.
Internationally celebrated for his paintings, prints, and watercolors, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) also took photographs. This exhibition of photographs, films, and a small selection of prints by Edvard Munch emphasizes the artist’s experimentalism, examining his exploration of the camera as an expressive medium. By probing and exploiting the dynamics of “faulty” practice, such as distortion, blurred motion, eccentric camera angles, and other photographic “mistakes,” Munch photographed himself and his immediate environment in ways that rendered them poetic. In both still images and in his few forays with a hand-held moving-picture camera, Munch not only archived images, but invented them.
On loan from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, the approximately 50 copy prints in the exhibition and the continuous screening of the DVD containing Munch’s films will be accompanied by contextualizing didactic panels. One will be historical and biographical, and the others will examine Munch’s photographic exploration. Similarly to the ways in which the artist invented techniques and approaches to painting and graphic art, Munch’s informal photography both honored the material before his lens and transmuted it into uncommon motifs.
This exhibition includes Munch’s experimental portraiture of friends and family as well as his self-portraiture, including images from what he termed his “Fatal Destiny” portfolio, staged between 1902 and 1908. It will coincide with, and complement, the exhibition Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been organized by the American-Scandinavian Foundation in partnership with The Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
A professor of art history at Wellesley College, Dr. Patricia Berman is a leading specialist in early modern Scandinavian art and the author of numerous important scholarly publications in the field. From 2010-2015, she held a faculty position at the University of Oslo, Norway, where she continues to be part of a research project entitled “Edvard Munch, Modernism, and Modernity.”
Her curatorial work has included Munch|Warhol and the Multiple Print (2013, New York and Ankara, Turkey); Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America, A Centennial Retrospective 1912\2012 (2011, American-Scandinavian Foundation); In Munch’s Laboratory: The Path to the Aula (2011, Munch Museum, Oslo), Edvard Munch and the Modern Life of the Soul (2006, Museum of Modern Art, NY).