Sunday, 1 July 2012

Nordic Beauty

To  the Munch exhibition at Tate Modern yesterday. It  was a scream, or a "skrik" as the Norwegians apparently say which  sounds like a cross between a scream and a shriek. I think I will call that painting, which was conspicuous by its absence from the show, "The Shriek"  in future.
There was a catalogue of his work on sale, in three volumes, costing over £200. They said you had to buy all three, you couldn't have only one at a time. I had a look in vol one. It was interesting as it contained many early paintings before he became an expressionist, before he managed to paint so loosely, tighter but lovely works that I have never seen before. 
I think they are all dispersed where as all his later work, over a thousand canvasses which were kept in his house, were all bequeathed to Oslo on his death. Apparently he did that to stop the Nazis getting the paintings as they were still in Norway when he died. I can't think that would really have stopped them,  they probably regarded his work with the deepest suspicion "entarte dekunst" as they put it. 
I have seen two exhibitions of his work in London, but this one was rather different, showing  his photographs and his films. The self portraits sometimes in the nude showed Munch in all his handsome glory, what a gorgeous creature he was. I am not surprised that women followed him about obsessively and used fire arms against him. He was operated on for his gunshot wound without an anaesthetic because he said it was important to "live each moment to the full." 
With that attitude he could have had a great sex life but I don't think he ever did, as his upbringing left him with anguish and guilt. I suspect that he gave up on sex quite early as too dangerous and too distracting. 
He was not only a cracker but he cracked "it" becoming world famous with one image, which is want every artist now wants to do. I whispered this to one of  his small, faint photos, congratulating him. 
His films were very hazy and flickering,  most of them long lost. But it was interesting to see how he applied  to painting what he saw through cheap camera  lenses;  faces bang up against the picture plane, legs and road plunging away into the background, foreshortening and cropping. 
Two of Munch's themes I take away from the show and hope to use more strongly in my own painting -
"Thou shall write thy life" and "Death is always nearby." 

It was a lovely day to be out in London, despite the crowds,  and I enjoyed seeing the Olympic rings hanging from Tower Bridge. They cost the same price as my flat.  

No comments:

Post a Comment