In 1983–84, Pop artist Andy Warhol (1928–87) produced a series of 15 prints with images taken directly from some of Edvard Munch’s most renowned motifs. But he enlarged them and colored them so boldly that Edvard Munch had turned in his grave if he had seen them!
Warhol had long regarded Munch, alongside Henri Matisse, as one of his favorite artists, and he had visited Oslo in 1973 to view Munch’s works at the National Gallery and the Munch Museum.
Like most of Warhol’s best-known works, these are copies which at the same time transform the sense and meaning of the originals. And he has made many of each subject – but in completely different colors and color combinations
The paintings describe a transaction in which the famously superficial Warhol becomes a profound and important figure in the history of art, while Munch, tortured and brooding, is best known for the mass-culture icon that The Scream has become.
The 15 prints become very different depending on the color scheme. How should we interpret the works of the two artists? How should we look at the expressionist Munch? And what did Warhol want when copying and transforming Munch?
Related: Munch Through New Eyes
We choose to place Edvard Munch into the age of modernity. The alienation that shines out of his images is not just his own. His self-portrait does not only express himself. It delves into the depths of today’s modern soul life. Unlike Andy Warhol, where the surface is essential. If you scratch it off “there is nothing underneath”, as Warhol expresses it. These contradictions are probably the main focus on the exhibition.
Munchmuseet on the Move – Kunsthall Oslo: Dronning Eufemias gate 34, Bjørvika. 26/05/18 — 26/08/18
Feature image (on top): From the ‘Andy Warhol after Munch’ exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen.
The Edvard Munch Museum in Oslo on the Move, based on a press release