Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Edvard Munch

I learnt something last night - firstly that 221 minutes is actually almost 4 hours. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to start watching a film that long at around ten o'clock last night. I also thought Edvard Munch was German, died young and only really painted 'The Scream' (originally 'The Shriek'). It turns out he was Norwegian, died at 80 and painted a lot. He died on the 23rd of January 1944, so I am only 7 days too late for a memorial post which is a pity.

I also didn't realise Munch was the first exponent of Expressionism - trying to paint how you feel rather than exactly what you see. As I am a firm advocate of this style of art I felt slightly ashamed I wasn't aware of this (as well as everything else).

The Sick Girl - the 'first' expressionist painting.

After watching Peter Watkins documentary style film (a docudrama apparently) about Munch I now feel I can appreciate him a lot better. 221 minutes better in fact. It was an impressive film, holding mock interviews to express emotions at the time and illustrating the climate surrounding Munch in terms of the Norwegian Bohemians, the culture of Christiania (where he spent his early years, now Oslo) and the main activities of the world. There is nothing quite like hearing the words 'The French have just given the Statue of Liberty to the United States of America.' Oh, wasn't it always there!? It certainly clearly laid out his influences, the struggles of artists at the time and the current trends in philosophy.

If you would like to get to know Munch better, watch as his life, loves and emotions slip through his fingers, get splatted on a canvas, his shows and exhibitions torn to pieces and get to the point where you want to give him a huge hug then I thoroughly recommend this film. An artwork in it's own right. You need to be keen though otherwise 120 minutes in, you may find yourself asleep.

Madonna. The Scream. Melancholy.

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