Thursday, August 9, 2012

‘Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye’

Edvard Munch (1863–1944) is among the most famous modern artists. Though world renowned, he still remains less understood. A new exhibition being hosted at Tate Modern examines the Norwegian painter’s work from around the 20th century, including paintings, many from the Oslo-based Munch Museum, along with a showing of his work in photography and film.

Often seen as a 19th-century subtle Symbolist painter, this exhibit goes to show how he engaged with modernity and was greatly inspired by the everyday life outside of his studio such as street scenes and incidents reported in the media – including The House is Burning 1925–7, a sensational view of a real life event with people fleeing the scene of a burning building.

The show, entitled ‘Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye’ examines how he often happened to repeat a motif over a period in order to re-work it. This can be seen in the different versions of some of his most celebrated works like ‘Girls on the Bridge’ (1902–27) and The Sick Child (1885–1927).

Munch’s usage of strong diagonals and prominent foregrounds reference the technological developments in cinema and photography at the time. Creating the illusion of figures moving towards the spectator, this visual trick can be seen in many of his most innovative works such as ‘Workers on their Way Home’ (1913–14).

The artist was also keenly aware of the visual effects brought on by the introduction of electric lighting on theatre stages and used this to create striking effect in works such as The Artist and his Model 1919–21.

Like other painters such as Vuillard and Bonnard, he adopted photography in the early years of the 20th century and largely focused on self-portraits that he repeated. In the 1930s, the artust developed an eye disease and then made some poignant works, charting out the effects of his degenerating eyesight.

1 comment:

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    Edvard Munch