Genoa and Edvard Munch: the city prepares for the highly anticipated fall retrospective
Some artists are fortunate, or unfortunate, in being identified with one of their works, only one, which becomes iconic and overshadows all of the other works created throughout their career. This cumbersome presence often hinders other important aspects of the artist, or perhaps the most important, his complexity. Consider, for example, the Mona Lisa, which is certainly an extraordinary painting, but often makes us forget Da Vinci‘s other remarkable works. Turner’s erotic drawings, which came to light only at the beginning of this century, forced many critics to reassess their views of the man they had thought of as simply a landscape artist.
The Norwegian painter, Edvard Munch, is probably one of the best examples of an artist being identified with a single work. His celebrated Scream, while undoutedly one of the most powerful works of Western art, has eclipsed and continues to eclipse the rest of his work.
2013 marks the 150th anniversary of his birth and exhibitions, in Italy and throughout the rest of Europe, are making a great effort to reveal the multi-faceted nature of Munch’s works. This has been made facilitated by the fact that Scream will remain in Oslo, leaving space for the rest of his works.
In Italy, Liguria has the honor of hosting around one hundred of the paintings of one of the greatest scrutinizers of the inner self and the founder, whether intentional or not, of the Expressionism movement.
Three months in advance of the exhibition’s opening date of 4 October, the exhibition was presented by the host city, Genoa, the host museum, Palazzo Ducale, the organizers, Arthemisia Group and 24Ore Cultura, as well as by the curator, Marc Restellini, director of the Pinacothèque de Paris.
The exhibition’s primary objective is to bring to light the many facets, the innovative force, the courage and the unconventionality of Munch’s many other works.
A certain amount of roughness, evident in the themes, colors and expressive lines were part of his creative process, which also included the exposure of the canvases to atmospheric agents. Munch loved to paint out in the open air, beneath the snow and rain, even when the temperatures were prohibitive, and when he finished a work, he liked to subject it to, as he called it, the “horse cure”. He believed that his works were ready for public display only after they had been exposed to harsh weather conditions.
His style was bold, but he also had an innate ability to perceive changes in art brought about, first, by photography and later by cinema. Munch was the first to use photos or frames from silent films in his paintings. His mixing of techniques made him one of the most innovative artists of his time.
His etchings are just as powerful as his canvases. The exhibition will include Madonna, which created a scandal in 1896. This work demonstrates his ability to incorporate movement and kinetics within the ages-old art form of painting, instilling it with a surprising breath of modernity.
The approximately one hundred works include a significant number of loans from private collections. The owners of Munch’s works are unique in the world of contemporary art collecting. They all know each other and every once in a while, they meet up to share their passion for Norwegian painter’s works. This attachment makes it difficult to separate them from the works they own. However, on the occasion of this exhibition, they must have been effectively persuaded, given the large number of works that will be on display in Genoa.
It should be added that a small but important exhibit will supplement the effort to build the public’s awareness of the artist. The Warhol After Munch exhibit will present a series of works that the pop artist par excellence created after being inspired by the Norwegian master. It will be interesting to see how the well-known American painter blends with the more obscure side of the European artist.
Now we just have to wait until October.