I often write blog posts to document events and projects for myself, and my current Scandinavian trip is very memory-worthy! I had just a few days in Norway with my husflidsskole classmate and friend Inger Berit Myhre. After arriving mid-day on June 11, we hiked in the afternoon, ate shrimp and drank wine, and I slept ten hours straight. We visited Oslo with day trips on Monday and Tuesday. It took only one hour and ten minutes by super-comfortable bus and train to to reach central Oslo from Inger’s house in Bjørkelangen. Monday we were gone from 9am to 10pm.
The weather was perfect – warm but not boiling, and sunny. It seemed like all Norwegians and all the tourists were outside. In front of MUNCH, many people were swimming in the Oslo harbor.
Many people have criticized the odd falling-forward shape of the MUNCH building; I think it is interesting and distinctive. Here you see it from a distance.
A monumental and very new sculpture by Tracy Emin sits outside the building, beautifully softened by beds of blooming daisies below.
One high-tech gallery displayed the rooms of Munch’s home. It wasn’t a traditional reconstruction; the “rooms” were demarcated on the floor and the walls were represented with hanging fabric panels with projected images. It was an interactive environment, where you could sit in a chair in front of a canvas and hear Munch discussing his painting, or answer a ringing telephone to reach the artist’s voice. Historical objects were selectively displayed around the rooms, like a standing clock or chairs or tables.
Cases on one wall were filled with artifacts like huge paint brushes or the blanket from his bed. That same blanket appears in this self-portrait.
One two-story room contained his monumental paintings. This will be my favorite part, I thought. Then we toured an exhibition of Munch’s prints along with the actual woodblocks. Some of the woodblocks were made like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces changed out over time. Oh no, this is my favorite.
Until, of course, we visited the floor with rest of the paintings. Inger and I agreed that we weren’t as interested in the most iconic paintings – the ones we have seen on posters throughout our lives. We were drawn to the lesser known paintings, including his life-sized full-length portraits.
My favorite painting among those I know well was “The Sick Child,” 1927.
And I don’t even need to tell you what these people were lined up to see at MUNCH, do I? You don’t even need to see it.
If you can get to Oslo, don’t miss MUNCH, for the art, for the building, and the amazing harbor neighborhood.