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The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch's Photography

(Sep 19, 2020 - Jan 31, 2021)

An exhibition of photographs, prints, and film by the master painter and printmaker provides a new perspective into his experimentalism. This is the first showing of this exhibition on the west coast. 

Internationally celebrated for his paintings, prints, and watercolors, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) also took photographs. This exhibition of photographs, prints, and films by Edvard Munch emphasizes the artist’s experimentalism, examining his exploration of the camera as an expressive medium. By probing and exploiting the dynamics of “faulty” practice, such as distortion, blurred motion, eccentric camera angles, and other photographic “mistakes,” Munch photographed himself and his immediate environment in ways that rendered them poetic. In both still images and in his few forays with a hand-held moving-picture camera, Munch not only archived images, but invented them.


On loan from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, the 46 copy prints in the exhibition and the continuous screening of the DVD containing Munch’s films are accompanied by a small selection of prints from private collections, as well as contextualizing panels and others that examine Munch’s photographic exploration. Similar to the ways in which the artist invented techniques and approaches to painting and graphic art, Munch’s informal photography both honored the material before his lens and transmuted it into uncommon motifs.

A black and white photo of Edvard Munch in front of a watercolor painting of a woman surrounded by a field of circles
The National Nordic Museum shares Nordic culture with people of all ages and backgrounds by exhibiting art and objects, preserving collections, providing educational and cultural experiences, and serving as a community gathering place.