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2013/01/17

Edvard Munch and Lene Berg at the 55th Venice Biennale

Edvard Munch, Samfundslære, årsak og virkning (Social Studies, Cause and Effect), Caricature: Lithographic crayon on paper, 1910. © Munch Museum / BONO 2012. Courtesy Munch Museum, Oslo

Norsk versjon

BEWARE OF THE HOLY WHORE: 
EDVARD MUNCH AND THE DILEMMA OF EMANCIPATION

Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa 
Galleria di Piazza San Marco 
San Marco 71/c 
30124 Venice, Italy 

31 May–22 September 2013 

www.oca.no

'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation' is a project organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, as the official Norwegian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2013. The exhibition, which includes a series of rarely exhibited works by Edvard Munch in addition to a newly commissioned film by Lene Berg, revolves around emancipation as an issue always vexed with contradiction – between the realm of freedom and the consequences of the isolation that often accompany the pursue of a qualitatively different, ‘alternative’ life. In his Essay on Liberation, Herbert Marcuse notes that the striving toward a ‘new sensibility’ involves a psychedelic, narcotic release from the rationality of an established system, as well as from the logic that attempts to change that system. Such new sensibility, which resides in the gap between the existing order and true liberation, might lead to a radical transformation – and in this shift art functions as a technique through which to reconstruct reality from its illusion, its imitation, its harmony, towards a matter not yet given, still to be realised. 

The impulse to operate in the margins – on the outside trying to break in or on the inside redefining the context – is one of the key driving forces in the history of art, and is also at the centre of 'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation'. The exhibition, curated by Marta Kuzma, Director, OCA, Angela Vettese, President, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and Pablo Lafuente, Associate Curator, OCA, will bring together rarely exhibited works from the collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo with Lene Berg’s new film Ung Løs Gris (Dirty Young Loose, 2013), in order to explore the relationship between art, its social context and changing gender relationships, both in the age of emancipation in which Munch lived and today.

At the beginning of the 20th century, sexual norms and traditional gender roles were questioned amid new psychological theories of sex and politics and a struggle for women’s equality. Challenged by such developments, Munch faced the alienation that characterised the Christiania Bohemia, a society bidding for emancipation but trapped in ‘reality’, struggling between two options: assimilating shared values, or going beyond them in order to construct a new frame for perception. Munch’s emphatic treatment of these themes from 1902 to 1908, before entering the asylum, reflected an internal ambiguity and anguish. Munch described this period as an ‘eternal civil war’, after which his work moved to a more distanced treatment of subjects, in social caricatures in which he offers an ironic critique of an increasingly capitalist and permissive society. In Social Studies: Cause and Effect, made shortly after, Munch also reflected upon the conditions of artistic production and its reception, via patronage, sales, criticism and public opinion, opening new dimensions for his work, from a psychological perspective into social and historical realms.

These issues are echoed in Lene Berg’s Dirty Young Loose, a film that concentrates on three stereotypical characters who are interrogated about their roles as either victims or perpetrators in a complex situation. The film explores the interpretation of human behaviour based on preconceived concepts and established norms. Just like the exhibition as a whole, the film presents the deconstruction of an original scene which functions as a catalyst for a revision of the politics of liberation, of gender struggle and of internal conflict – the dilemma of emancipation.

For further information on this project, please contact Antonio Cataldo, OCA’s Senior Programme Coordinator.

‘Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation’ will take place from 31 May to 22 September 2013 at Galleria di Piazza San Marco of Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa. It is made possible by the support of Fritt Ord and with the cooperation of the Munch Museum in Oslo.

Edvard Munch, Samfundslære, årsak og virkning (Social Studies, Cause and Effect), Caricature: Lithographic crayon on paper, 1910. © Munch Museum / BONO 2012. Courtesy Munch Museum, Oslo

2012/11/23

Lene Berg as part of the Norwegian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibiton, La Biennale di Venezia 2013

Lene Berg, sketch for Ung Løs Gris (Dirty Young Loose, 2012). Courtesy of the artist

Norsk versjon

Office for Contemporary Art Norway and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa 

LENE BERG TO PARTICIPATE IN

BEWARE OF THE HOLY WHORE:
EDVARD MUNCH AND THE DILEMMA OF EMANCIPATION

Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
Galleria di Piazza San Marco
San Marco 71/c
30124 Venice, Italy

31 May–6 October 2013 (TBC)

'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation' is a project co-organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, Italy, as the official Norwegian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2013. The project revolves around emancipation as an issue always vexed with contradiction – between the realm of freedom and the consequences of the isolation that often accompanies pursuing a qualitatively different, ‘alternative’ life. In his Essay on Liberation, Herbert Marcuse noted that this striving toward what is essentially a ‘new sensibility’ involves a psychedelic, narcotic release from the rationality of an established system, as well as from the rationality that attempts to change that system. This new sensibility, which resides in the gap between the confines of the existing order and those of true liberation, might lead to a radical transformation – and in this transformation art serves as a technique through which to reconstruct reality from its illusion, its imitation, even its harmony, towards a reality not yet given, still to be realised. 

This sensibility will be echoed in a new work by Lene Berg that will be integrated within a larger exhibition of works by Edvard Munch. This work, titled Ung Løs Gris (Dirty Young Loose, 2013), is a 25-minute film that concentrates on three stereotypical characters who are interrogated about their roles as victims and/or perpetrators in a complex situation. The film explores the interpretation of human behaviour based on preconceived concepts and established norms. Just like the exhibition as a whole, the film presents the deconstruction of an original scene which functions as a catalyst to enact a revision of emancipatory politics, gender struggle and internal conflict.

More about the exhibition
The impulse to operate in the margins – on the outside trying to break in or on the inside redefining the context – is one of the key driving forces in the history of art, and is also at the centre of 'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation'. The exhibition, which will take place at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa’s gallery at Piazza San Marco, will bring together works from the collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo with a new film by Norwegian artist Lene Berg, in order to explore Edvard Munch’s position within and response to the age of emancipation in which he lived, where sexual norms and traditional gender roles were challenged amid new psychological theories of sex and politics and a struggle for women’s equality. Challenged by social developments and psycho-emotional expression, Munch faced the alienation that characterised a society (the Kristiania Bohemia) bidding for emancipation but trapped in ‘reality’, struggling between two options: assimilating shared values, or going beyond them in order to construct a new frame for perception. As Munch’s illustrations for Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal warned, sex might bring death. 

Munch’s emphatic treatment of these themes prior to 1902, before entering the asylum for the first time, reflected an internal ambiguity and anguish. Munch described his asylum period as an ‘eternal civil war’, after which, from 1908, his work moved to a more distanced treatment of subjects, in social caricatures in which he offers an ironic critique of an increasingly capitalist and permissive society. In Social Studies: Cause and Effect, made shortly after, Munch also reflected upon the conditions of artistic production and its reception, via patronage, sales, criticism and public opinion, opening new dimensions for his work, from a psychological perspective into social and historical realms.

The ‘pile of humanity’ or ‘human mountain’, a recurrent motif in Munch’s work since the early 1890s, is a pivotal element for 'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation', in its reflection on an emancipatory drive that might conclude in tragedy. While some of the sketches, illustrations, drawings and lithographs of the versions portray the human mountain as a platform for what looks like a move towards true liberation, others show a sarcophagus at the mountain’s pinnacle – an allegory that reflects Munch’s deep ambivalence towards the new times, their promises and their possibilities, and that expresses the dilemma of emancipation.

The project is curated by Marta Kuzma, Director, OCA, Angela Vettese, President, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and Pablo Lafuente, Associate Curator, OCA.This project is produced and organised by OCA together with Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and in cooperation with the Munch Museum, Oslo. Lene Berg’s film is produced by Helga Fjordholm, Studio Fjordholm AS, and made possible with the additional support of NFI, the Norwegian Film Institute/Åse Meyer, Norsk Kulturråd/Arts Council Norway and Fond for Lyd og Bilde/Audio and Visual Fund.

For further information on this project, please contact Antonio Cataldo, OCA’s Senior Programme Coordinator.

2012/10/29

Norway at the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2013

Edvard Munch, The Murderer, Oil on canvas, 1910.
© Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen gruppen/ BONO, Oslo 2012

Norsk versjon

Office for Contemporary Art Norway and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa

BEWARE OF THE HOLY WHORE:
EDVARD MUNCH AND THE DILEMMA OF EMANCIPATION

Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
Galleria di Piazza San Marco
San Marco 71/c
30124 Venice, Italy

31 May–6 October 2013 (TBC)

www.oca.no

'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation' is a project co-organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, Italy, as the official Norwegian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2013. The project, curated by Marta Kuzma, Director, OCA, Angela Vettese, President, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and Pablo Lafuente, Associate Curator, OCA, revolves around emancipation as an issue always vexed with contradiction – between the realm of freedom and the consequences of the isolation that often accompanies pursuing a qualitatively different, ‘alternative’ life. In his Essay on Liberation, Herbert Marcuse noted that this striving toward what is essentially a ‘new sensibility’ involves a psychedelic, narcotic release from the rationality of an established system, as well as from the rationality that attempts to change that system. This new sensibility, which resides in the gap between the confines of the existing order and those of true liberation, might lead to a radical transformation – and in this transformation art serves as a technique through which to reconstruct reality from its illusion, its imitation, even its harmony, towards a reality not yet given, still to be realised.

The impulse to operate in the margins – on the outside trying to break in or on the inside redefining the context – is one of the key driving forces in the history of art, and is also at the centre of 'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation'. The exhibition, which will take place at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa’s gallery at Piazza San Marco, will bring together works from the collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo in order to explore Edvard Munch’s position within and response to the age of emancipation in which he lived, where sexual norms and traditional gender roles were challenged amid new psychological theories of sex and politics and a struggle for women’s equality. Challenged by social developments and psycho-emotional expression, Munch faced the alienation that characterised a society (the Kristiania Bohemia) bidding for emancipation but trapped in ‘reality’, struggling between two options: assimilating shared values, or going beyond them in order to construct a new frame for perception. As Munch’s illustrations for Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal warned, sex might bring death.

Munch’s emphatic treatment of these themes from 1902 to 1908, before entering the asylum, reflected an internal ambiguity and anguish. Munch described this period as an ‘eternal civil war’, after which his work moved to a more distanced treatment of subjects, in social caricatures in which he offers an ironic critique of an increasingly capitalist and permissive society. In Social Studies: Cause and Effect, made shortly after, Munch also reflected upon the conditions of artistic production and its reception, via patronage, sales, criticism and public opinion, opening new dimensions for his work, from a psychological perspective into social and historical realms.

The ‘pile of humanity’ or ‘human mountain’, a recurrent motif in Munch’s work since the early 1890s, is a pivotal element for 'Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the Dilemma of Emancipation', in its reflection on an emancipatory drive that might conclude in tragedy. While some of the sketches, illustrations, drawings and lithographs of the versions portray the human mountain as a platform for what looks like a move towards true liberation, others show a sarcophagus at the mountain’s pinnacle – an allegory that reflects Munch’s deep ambivalence towards the new times, their promises and their possibilities, and that expresses the dilemma of emancipation.

For further information on this project, please contact Antonio Cataldo, OCA’s Senior Programme Coordinator.

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