• SOURCE: Thyssen Museum

Munch Presented by Paloma Alarco



This is an interview with Paloma Alarco, the exhibition's curator, covered with images of paintings and rooms of the exhibition to illustrate her words.
This is an interview with Paloma Alarco, the exhibition's curator, covered with images of paintings and rooms of the exhibition to illustrate her words. Paloma Alarcó, Curator, Edvard Munch - Arquetypes. 00.18 "We have organised the exhibition thematically according to the issues that obsessed the artist throughout his life: feelings, prototypes of certain passions, archetypes of characters that we all recognize... Each section analyses one of these themes, which also mark his own life. We also mix up paintings with engravings and early works with later works to illustrate another very interesting aspect of Munch, which is repetition. Once he was clear what he wanted to say, what topics he would address, he repeated them over and over again. And each succeeding version incorporated something new. 00.55 "More and more we realize that - although there is certainly a biographical background to his work, as with many artists - what Munch wanted to do was to tell stories. He wanted to convert these personal experiences into universal feelings. Ultimately, what he creates are archetypes that everyone understands and has experienced at some time in their lives. So, almost all the characters depicted by Munch are anonymous, faceless characters because they don't represent anyone specifically but instead represent emotional archetypes or passions that everybody can understand. 01.43 "He knew the Impressionists, who influenced him for a while and gave him certain pictorial techniques. Gaugin, and particularly his engravings, interested him because of their technical experimentation, which Munch took further. Van Gogh was also an artist who interested Munch, and here we have a wonderful version of his Starry Night. There are also works that are very Matissian; and it's funny how Munch influences Matisse in early life, and then Matisse influences Munch at the end of his life. 02.19 "He was an artist who lived a long time. He died aged 80 in 1944. Not only can you link him to the spirit of the Fin de siècle of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but also to the Expressionists, who he originally inspired and who in turn later influenced him. 02.42 "In Paris, he was mainly interested in Symbolism, which is a slightly darker art form than Impressionism. He was always very close to the literary circles where the heroes were Dostoevsky, Nietzsche... it's a very dark world. But when he returns to Norway in 1909, Munch has become a self-confident and accepted painter. And this results in a more a forceful use of colour that is vital and expressive. He starts making new versions of old themes but presented in a different way. For example, he does a version of The Kiss that instead of being set indoors, dark, and with almost invisible lovers, is set on a beach in the village of Osvostrand, whose pleasant undulating shoreline he loved. There is definitely a transformation. 03.40 "As early as 1912 there was a major exhibition in Cologne where Munch was presented as one of the fathers of modern art along with Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. At first he was thoroughly rejected as an artist, as happened to all these fathers of modernity, but then he became a very influential painter, especially among the young Expressionists. In his searching and experimentation, he opened new pathways in modern art. I think without any doubt, he deserves his place on the throne of the great fathers of twentieth century modern art. 04.25 "I like to say that Munch is a very famous painter but at the same time a great unknown. 04.32" Edvard Munch - Archetypes. At the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. From 6 October 2015 to 17 January 2016.
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