+Munch
Exhibition Series

2015–2017

Graphic & Digital Design, Interior Architecture, Architecture

Introduction

+Munch was an ambitious exhibition series at the Munch Museum in Oslo between 2015 and 2017, with six exhibitions exploring the works of Edvard Munch alongside works of the six artists: Bjarne Melgaard, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Vigeland, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jasper Johns, and Asger Jorn. The exhibition series was a collaboration between the curatorial team at the Munch Museum and a cross disciplinary team at Snøhetta executing exhibition design, book design and visual identity. 

Technical details

Typologies
Installation & Exhibition, Visual Identity, Books, Print & Publications, Signage & Wayfinding, Museum & Gallery
Status
Completed
Location
Oslo, Norway

Our goal was to communicate with the audience, and treat the space with focused attention and a fresh approach, giving the visitors a valuable experience. We wanted to surprise, create unexpected experiences, build expectations from one exhibition to the next. Working with different temperatures in each exhibition from rebellious and challenging to delicate and sensuous – or from contemplative to playful. The series started with Melgaard and moved on to Van Gogh the impact couldn’t be bigger.

After the +Munch series finished Snøhetta created several ambitious exhibitions at the Munch Museum: “Between the Clock and the Bed”, “Head by Head — Cronqvist | Bjørlo | Munch”, “Towards the Forest — Knausgård on Munch”, “Emma & Edvard — Love in the Time of Loneliness”.

As a common visual playground for all the exhibitions we use the entrance to the exhibition area to mark the transition from everyday life into the exhibition itself, playing with perspective, colors and layered typography – and ultimately tactile effects.

The +Munch exhibition series marked a shift at the Munch Museum. Suddenly the traditional museum was on everybody’s lips, at times visiting numbers from the local community increased by tenfold. How did the collaboration with Snøhetta come about?

Stein Olav Henrichsen Director, The Munch Museum

2 Melgaard + Munch

Melgaard + Munch includes many fields of expertise, and spans book design, exhibition design with wall texts, and color scheme. As this is the first show in the series, most of the main alterations to the museum was executed now, such as rebuilding the entire entrance area to the exhibition spaces.

The first book of the series published with renowned art publisher Hatje Cantz in Germany was made to accompany the Melgaard+Munch exhibition. At first the catalog was thought to be a standalone element with an experimental approach. Our aim was to see if we could make Munch resemble Melgaard, a less obvious strategy than the other way around.

3 Van Gogh + Munch

When welcoming Munch’s Dutch kindered spirit Vincent van Gogh we chose to use a gradient of blue colours for the museum walls. Van Gogh has never been exhibited in Norway with so many works. Striking encounters between the two masters gave lasting impressions on all visitors. The exhibition gave insight into how the troubled souls produced works with immense power long after their own lives ended.

4 Vigeland + Munch

The two most important Norwegian artists from Munch’s time – Vigeland a sculptor and Munch mostly painter and printmaker. They were friends in younger years but had a more competitive relation as adults. Showing these two contemporaries as extensively as this is a rare occasion, but with many overlapping motifs and themes in their works it is easy to find the connections. In the exhibition design we tried to use the colors of the interiors from the 1920s and 30s with an up to date twist. The exhibition shelves and tables were all very simple structures giving the artworks maximum focus.

5 Mapplethorpe + Munch

Mapplethorpe + Munch is the fourth exhibition in the +Munch exhibition series at The Munch Museum. The exhibition explores similarities and disparities between Edvard Munch and Robert Mapplethorpe, both between the artists and their art.

Mapplethorpe’s art is manifested through the photographic medium, and the majority of the exhibited work is shown in black and white. A deep bluish gray color has therefore been chosen as the main color for the walls, accented by a flesh pink in the first room and exit area.

The extensive exhibition catalog is published with the Belgian art book publisher Mercatorfonds. For the cover we chose the flesh pink color with debossed black foil lettering a tipped-in double portrait. The book is laid out with images gravitating towards the bottom of the pages, leaving generous space above. Typographically, the power that lies in the font is used boldly.

“There is a number of fascinating parallels and points of contact between the art of Edvard Munch and Robert Mapplethorpe. This complex relationship is what the exhibition Mapplethorpe+Munch aims to explore. With 141 works by Mapplethorpe and 95 by Munch the exhibition presents similarities between two great artists that have never been done before.”

The Munch Museum

6 Johns + Munch

The links between Munch and the most important American artist alive, Jasper Johns, are many. The most obvious is perhaps the bedspread in Munch’s famous self portrait “Between the Clock and the Bed” from 1940–43. The patterned bedspread is adapted by Johns and is central in numerous paintings and prints. There are other repeating traces of Munch in John’s oeuvre, even the symbiosis between printmaking and painting seems influenced by the example set by Munch

7 Jorn + Munch

Asger Jorn’s development as an artist was dramatically changed after he visited the large Munch exhibition at the National Gallery in Oslo immediately after the Second World War. The exhibition demonstrated to Jorn what a Nordic painting could look like – how a Nordic temperament was different than the continental art.

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