Zombie Workers and Sexual Hang-Ups: How Edvard Munch Envisioned Our Lonely Lives – Review | Edvard Munch

We Love anniversary. This year has been pushed to the centenary of modernism, because both The Waste Land and Ulysses were published in 1922.but Edvard Munch Beat TS Eliot and James Joyce. In 1892, Munch painted the city’s first modernist masterpiece, advancing their radical vision of urban life by a full three decades. Now, the masterpiece ‘The Night of Karl Johan’ is coming to the UK as part of a rare provocative Munch collection from Bergen, Norway.

These people really need to work from home. They came to us at the end of the day, their faces aching from the pain of the office or factory. They are scary grey caricatures of loneliness and sadness illuminated by yellow glowing windows. A woman stared out with white eye rims, her pupils shrunk to dots, and a man in a funeral hat had a shrunken, skeleton-like face, as if modern life had turned him into a walking dead. In fact, they’re all workday zombies, their bodies stunted, their pace robots, approaching in a single mummy.

This is exactly the sense of alienation Eliot put into words 30 years later: “A crowd of people swarmed across London Bridge, so much, / I didn’t expect death to have destroyed so much. / sigh, short and rare, / every Every man keeps his eyes on his own feet.” “The Night of Karl Johann” foretold the lonely crowds of this 20th-century city on a desperate trek between going nowhere and having nothing.

If being first means being the best, then Munch deserves the title of the first true modernist, making the movement its 130th rather than its 100th anniversary. But that’s just one way of judging art. Munch’s hallmark is the authenticity of suffering. As original as The Night of Karl Johan is, it is overshadowed by the paintings next to it.

Their lives were stolen...on their deathbed.
Their lives were stolen… stolen by the deathbed. Photo: Dag Fosse/Kode

Dying depicts people standing on the motionless body of a child. Their suffering was so complete that there was almost nothing left. The woman closest to us had a bandage-like white mask on her face, leaving only a small pink patch around her eyes. Her looks were ruined by her loss. Another woman had gone further, and her face was nothing but a pale cartoon with polka-dot eyes. All we could see was a thin body of the deceased under the sheets, with slender brown hair. But we see death in the mourner’s black form. It has entered every fiber of their lives. Their lives were stolen.

It was also stolen from Munch as a child. The painting recalls the devastating loss of his favourite sister Sophie to tuberculosis, which had killed his mother. Sadness infected his view of life. TS Eliot’s hero in J Alfred Prufrock’s love song admits he’s “not Prince Hamlet” – but Munch’s young melancholy clearly resembles the tragic Scandinavian hero, brooding on the shore, His head rests on his hands, as if in a medieval melancholia symbol, with Lewis Chess. Munch’s creamy brown and purple sky above a sea of ​​dead purple makes you feel his mood.

This is why seeing Munch’s paintings up close is so special than his prints. The show may be small, with only 18 paintings, but it’s a slew of Munch’s work on canvas—and in this light-filled, space-perfect show, you can see more than just the joy of his colors Ruo Kuang’s sadness can still see his soul. Munch shines brightly in his pain. All the melancholy comes out in his luxurious sense of paint. In the dark green woods of his massive 1894 oil painting “Woman in Three Stages”, there is what looks like a large bloodstain: he hurls red paint on the canvas to create this horrific wound. Or at least that’s what I’m assuming is happening. Maybe they should test if it’s blood.

The luxurious feel of paint... Munch's three-stage woman.
The luxurious feel of paint… Munch’s three-stage woman. Photo: Dag Fosse/Kode

As if the overwhelming sense of sadness wasn’t enough, Munch’s art unabashedly acknowledges massive sexual hang-ups. On the right side of the work there is a young man, contemplating beside the figures of three women: one is a dreamer on the shore, the other is walking around like a ghost in the woods, and in the middle stands a tall Naked woman with her head up for a sexual challenge. You’d think Munch’s male alter ego would be happy, but he looks pathetic.​​​ In Men and Women, a naked man sits helplessly in front of his naked girlfriend with his head bowed in despair. This bedroom scene would be nothing if not unattended. Munch clearly identifies with this masculine self, crushed into impotence by a woman’s nudity. How many artists are so candid?

The exhibition shows how Munch jumped from lovely 1880s post-Impressionist scenes – including a portrait of his sister Inge by the misty sea – to his intense, abstract paintings end of the century Emotional images, so extreme, it seems he has lost his skin. The self-portrait in the clinic, painted in 1909, shows why he couldn’t go on like this. Munch’s most expressive periods came at the expense of traumatic relationships and alcoholism. In 1908, he had a nervous breakdown and entered a “neural clinic”. The painting shows his state of recovery: at first glance, it appears to be a more formal work, with Munch taking a decent, serious pose, but then you realize he’s actually painting himself trying This posture, I uncomfortably hope he can keep this posture from now on. However, his jacket is a crazy purple smear pattern. Munch couldn’t forget what he saw as he looked at the bloodstained forest.

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