Modern eyes on Munch

Twenty Chinese journalists and editors from both general and art media showed up for a gathering at the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing Monday 10 December 2012. The theme was the 150th anniversary for the birth of the famous Norwegian painter Edward Munch in the upcoming year. The anniversary will introduce to us a modern artist with a modern eye for the world.

In China as well as the rest of the world, Edward Munch  is best known for his iconic painting “The Scream.” During 2013, the 150th anniversary for his birth, a different side of Munch will be presented to Munch-fans worldwide, old and new.

Photo: The Embassy website

The recent gathering in Beijing started with a short seminar on Munch and the anniversary year followed by a guided tour of the original Munch pieces in the Ambassador’s residence. The session concluded with a sit-down lunch with the Ambassador, which turned into a vibrant discussion on the role of both Munch and of art itself in contemporary China.


Among the topics discussed during the seminar was the exhibition entitled “The Modern Eye”, focusing on Munch as a modernist and innovator, a curious as well as plagued personality, and a photo-/videographer and print maker as well as an oil painter.

“Oh, it’s him!”
As expected, the participants representing specialized art media were all well informed about Munch and his paintings. However, several of the journalists representing more general media had arrived expecting to learn about a “new” Norwegian artist, but quickly realized that they already knew his paintings very well. As a whole, the group was interested in the way the anniversary creates a new perspective on a person who has already gone down in history as a “national treasure”.

Munch’s originals have been exhibited twice in China. The first exhibition took place as early as 1983, travelling from Beijing to Chongqing and Kunming, while the second took place in Shanghai in 1997. Therefore, this was the first time many of the visiting journalists had the opportunity to view Munch’s originals. The participants who had experienced Munch’s paintings before, both in Norway and elsewhere, shared their experiences and impressions with the group.

2013: Returning Home
In 2013, almost all of Munch’s paintings will return to Norway, where there will be an abundance of exhibitions, book launches, seminars, concerts, and other activities related to Munch happening all over the country. These events will be shared in detail on the website which also comprises thorough background information about Munch’s life and art.

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