Sunday, April 05, 2020

Worlds within us


  «There are worlds within us». - Edvard Munch

  This is hopefully not anything like the usual bullshit reviewer comment.
  I finally visited the Edvard Munch exhibition at Kode in Bergen this January, doing so on its second last day. The admission ticket set me back the equivalent of $20. That’s twenty full warm home dinners to me. I didn’t really ponder the issue, though. I had wanted to go for a long time, and finally, I did. It was worth it. It is true that we don’t live by food and drink alone. I have always felt that strongly.
  I love both expressionism and Munch, and all that was certainly rekindled when I entered the gallery. It has been a while since I last approached Munch. I didn’t read me up again, didn’t read anything about the paintings, but set out to study them with fresh eyes.
  The gallery exhibited ninety of his most famous paintings and drawings. He did well over a thousand.
  As the quote says, Munch focused on the inner life or himself and humans in general. Almost all the paintings and drawings are evocative, eerie, from an angle most people don’t perceive or easily perceive. He was a troubled man, and that is also easily seen in his art. Except for a «touch» of the bohemian lifestyle brought on by Hans J√¶ger, he didn’t really live a life much different from most people. His Otherness is mostly seen through his art, not his lifestyle. He didn’t live the worlds inside, did not live his art, like many other artists did and do. One can even say he descended to a downright prosaic existence.
  He painted the primitive man, without «making his way to Tahiti». His imagination did take him places, also those not seen by others. To call him imaginative is a grossly insufficient description, really.
  When I look at his art, I seek, like I always do with everything, my personal experience of it. I did tend to forget where I was at the exhibition. Time just flowed away to nothing, to everything. I did not forget myself, but found myself yet again, faced with the deep study of life from another artist.
  That is and has always been art in a nutshell to me.

  "No longer should interiors be painted, people reading and women knitting: there would be living people, breathing and feeling, suffering and loving».

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