Internationally celebrated for his paintings, prints, and watercolors, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) also took photographs. In 2017/18, the exhibition The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography at Scandinavia House drew widespread acclaim for introducing audiences to his photographic and film work, emphasizing the artist’s experimentalism and examining his exploration of the camera as an expressive medium. This exhibition includes Munch’s experimental portraiture of friends and family as well as his self-portraiture, including images from what he termed his “Fatal Destiny” portfolio, staged between 1902 and 1908. By probing and exploiting the dynamics of “faulty” practice, such as distortion, blurred motion, eccentric camera angles, and other photographic “mistakes,” Munch photographed himself and his immediate environment in ways that rendered them poetic. In both still images and in his few forays with a hand-held moving-picture camera, Munch not only archived images, but invented them. As a recent Financial Times Magazine review of the works states, “Munch’s mercurial snapshots trace the survival of an artist obsessed with loss… his photographs remain tantalisingly opaque a century on.”
Having since traveled to eight venues worldwide, including Seattle, Oslo, Stockholm, Fredrikssund (Denmark), and Bergen, the exhibition will be returning to Scandinavia House beginning December 10 in a new iteration, including photographic enlargements and a display of the amateur camera models similar to those he used in his work. The exhibition will also feature a “selfie station” for visitors to interact with Edvard Munch’s experimental self-portraiture, as well as the opportunity to browse the new publication, which includes 120 fully illustrated pages alongside essays by curator Patricia G. Berman, Tom Gunning and MaryClaire Pappas, available for purchase in the Shop. On loan from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, the approximately 50 copy prints in the exhibition and a continuous projection of Munch’s films will be accompanied by contextualizing didactic panels as well as a video presentation. It has been organized by the American-Scandinavian Foundation in partnership with The Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. It has been supported by the Inger and William Ginsberg Support Fund.
The Experimental Self
Edvard Munch’s Photography
December 10, 2021 – March 26, 2022
58 Park Ave New York, NY 10016