With approximately 140 works that have rarely if ever been exhibited in Germany, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
presents the unknown Edvard Munch (1863 1944) at K20. These paintings, prints, and sculptures were selected by Karl Ove Knausgård (b. 1968). The internationally celebrated author, like Munch himself a native Norwegian, achieved worldwide fame with his six-volume autobiographical novel, which has been translated into more than thirty languages and has received numerous prizes. His decidedly personal point of view opens up a fresh perspective onto a man who was, arguably, the most important representative of the Scandinavian avant-garde of the early twentieth century, while highlighting the continuing relevance of Munchs concern with the embeddedness of the individual in society.
The exhibition of works by a historical artist follows the guiding principle of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen of gaining new insights for the focal points of our collection from new perspectives, explains Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, explaining her particular interest in this project: European Modernism of the early twentieth century is the heart of our collection and it is our concern to integrate this valuable collection into a process of reflection through our exhibitions and programs.
Knausgård explores the painters inner world while tracing Munchs various artistic preoccupations. The authors subjective approach results in a subdivision of the exhibition into four thematic areas: Light and Landscape presents shorelines and gardens, but also scenes of people working in the fields. It is followed by The Forest with its views of trees and meadows a natural world that retains the upper hand in relation to human endeavors. Chaos and Energy provides insights into the emotional and psychological forces that drove the painter, as well as into his struggle with each work. Complementing this focus on Munchs interior life is the conclusion, The Others, which features images of friends and comrades and focuses on the ways in which the individual reasserts control over reality.
For the exhibition, Knausgård sifted through the collection depots at the Munch Museum on the hunt for works that would allow Munch to appear in a new light, says Stein Olav Henrichsen, Director of the Munch Museum in Oslo, describing the exhibitions emergence there in autumn 2017. Together with Karl Ove Knausgård, the exhibition in Düsseldorf could be extended by various important pictures. With Edvard Munch Seen by Karl Ove Knausgård, it was possible to open up a new perspective on one of the most important artists at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Edvard Munch (18631944) is one of the most important artists of the early twentieth century. He was a pioneer of Expressionism and unique in his stylistic and technical inventions in the field of printmaking. Among his most important creations are world-famous paintings such as The Scream and The Sick Childworks created by the Norwegian from the 1880s onwards. After longer stays in Paris and Berlin, Munch returned to Oslo in 1909. From this time on, he created winter landscapes, flower gardens, and life-size portraits full of unexpected gaiety.
Karl Ove Knausgård was born in 1968. He is considered to be the most important Norwegian author today. The six novels of his autobiographical project My Struggle (Min Kamp) were a global sensation and set new literary standards. They have been translated into more than thirty languages and earned him numerous accolades. In 2015, Knausgård received the literary prize awarded by the German daily newspaper Die Welt, followed, in 2017, by the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. Karl Ove Knausgård lives with his family in London.
Curator of the exhibition: Karl Ove Knausgård