The new Munch Museum in Oslo will be definitively inaugurated on October 22, after it was projected in 2008. The building, a 60-meter-high mass of concrete that emerges on the shores of the fjord of the capital of the Scandinavian country, will host approximately 28,000 works by the famous Norwegian painter. The space has been designed so that temporary exhibitions by the author of The Scream. In the words of its director, Stein Olav Henrichsen, it will become “a place of reference for contemporary art”.
In the middle of the remodeling of the building, Jens Richter, co-director of the project together with his partner, the Spanish Juan Herreros, founding architect of the Blacksmith studio from Madrid, promised in 2017 that they would create “a new postcard of the city.” The result redraws the skyline from the flat city of Oslo, where the tallest buildings do not exceed 15 floors. Next to the Opera – the flagship and very horizontal structure of the new modern area of the city – the new Munch-museet, with a vertical structure, is characterized by the fact that its top floors are slightly inclined towards the water, forming almost an angle of 45 degrees. In addition, the recycled aluminum sheet metal in blue, white and gray tones that covers the museum evokes the fjord of the capital.
The director recalled that with this play, Edvard Munch sees his dream finally come true. Before dying in 1944 he donated his legacy (1,000 paintings, 15,400 engravings, 4,500 watercolors, six sculptures, drawings, writings and literary texts) to the city of Oslo on the condition that they create a museum to house them and so that their neighbors could use them. enjoy, study and disseminate.
The gallery multiplies its spaces, which will allow the painting of The Scream (1893), Munch’s masterpiece, Have a Quiet Place. “You will have to come several times to see all the exhibitions that we can host in the 11 spaces we have, as well as an auditorium to give concerts, rooms for conferences and seminars, others dedicated to children and a great gastronomic offer”, has reported Henrichsen during the press conference.
The museum grows skyward and allows a program to be expanded that will begin with five temporary exhibitions, dedicated to different facets of Munch’s work. One of them, with the name Infinite, will be devoted to the artist’s best-known pieces, such as The Scream o la Madonna, which are part of his great legacy to Oslo. All is life will show his most experimental work, how he devised works by mixing photos, texts, sketches, lithographs… Another of the exhibits will be dedicated to his work related to nature and how he drew and interpreted sunlight. In the latter, the Museum will mix Munch’s work with the work of other artists from the interwar period, with prominent names from Surrealism and what was called Norwegian Modernism in the 1930s.
“We want this museum to be able to live, to serve for citizens to interact and build their own museum,” stressed the director of the institution and has given as an example another of the exhibitions that can be seen from October, Shadows: an interactive exhibition that digitally recreates Munch’s house, which was demolished. In the archive and legacy of the artist there are not only paintings, but also many of the furniture that he owned, his library, clothes and tens of thousands of documents that he wrote.
A space dedicated to contemporary art
The Munch Museum will try to position itself in the contemporary art circuit with two large exhibitions that the director himself has called “blockbuster”. On the one hand, the sample Loneliness of the Soul, by Tracy Emin, whose work is heavily influenced by the Norwegian painter’s work. It will not be her only contribution, the gallery has acquired a sculpture by the conceptual artist that will be permanently located outside the building, in an area called “island”, a space in front of the large square that surrounds the museum that is intended to be meeting point for the citizens of Oslo. “It is the counterpoint to this great museum dedicated to a man”, added the director. The Savage Eye is the second exhibition dedicated to surrealism in which Munch’s work will be able to dialogue with pieces by Dalí, Miró, Gauguin and Magritte, among other artists.
The architects have opted for a concept of “public square”, as described by Richter: “The building is a free access space with children’s areas, concert halls, restaurants, foreign exhibition halls and a viewpoint”. A large part of the museum has been allocated to spaces for children, not only with activities dedicated to them, but the building itself is adapted to the little ones so that they can see and learn about Munch’s work from their perspective. It will open from 10 in the morning to 22 at night. “We want it to be a total experience,” summarized the head of the institution.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.