Edvard Munch. A Poem of Life, Love and Death
Munch's work occupies a pivotal place in artistic modernity. It has its roots in the 19th century and would find its place firmly in the next one. Moreover, his entire work is permeated by a singular vision of the world, giving it a powerful symbolist dimension that cannot be reduced to the few masterpieces he created in the 1890s. Going beyond fin-de-siècle symbolism, Munch transcended this movement beyond its peak to make it the backbone of his work, giving it its great coherence.
Munch's singular creative process led him to produce many variations of the same motif, but also several versions of the same subject. Eminently symbolist, the notion of cycles thus played a key role in Munch's thought and art. It is manifest on several levels in his work, even coming into play with the very construction of his paintings, where certain motifs recur regularly. For Munch, humanity and nature are united in the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Within this framework, he developed a novel iconography, largely inspired by the vitalist philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson. Munch himself emphasized this when talking about his Frieze of Life : “these paintings, admittedly relatively difficult to understand, will be [...] easier to apprehend if they are integrated into a whole.”
The exhibition will present about a hundred works, paintings, as well as drawings, prints or engraved blocks, reflecting the diversity of his practice. This large-scale presentation, with a retrospective dimension, will encompass the entire career of the artist. It will invite the visitor to revisit the Norwegian painter's work in its entirety by following the thread of an ever-inventive pictorial thinking: a work that is both fundamentally coherent, even obsessive, and at the same time constantly renewed.
Exhibition organized by the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, in special partnership with the MUNCHMuseet, Oslo.