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Mapping edges of space / Munch's atelier, Ekely

                                                                                                                   Ekely, 2021

Mapping edges of space is an ongoing project where I use the space of Edvard Munch's atelier to create an understanding of the space and exploration into  nostalgic connections to Edvard Munch and his paintings. As a Norwegian, born in the US, and moving to Norway in my teens, Edvard Munch was a cultural figure that in many ways connected an understanding to Norway and a feeling of home. The paintings of Edvard Munch are very often related to nature. Remembering back, when looking at his paintings as a child, and loving how he painted trees. They lived their own life, they were always bending , curved  slightly as if in movement. Munch fascinated me, I felt as if he was climbing in those trees with me. Now, as an adult, viewing his paintings,  the same relationship exists. His portraits of people are fascinating. The expressions in their faces. There is a lingering presence of something that is also absent. Connecting to the way Munch shows human expressions in faces,  I find "a longing to connect"  into their faces. This may be my own nostalgic interpretation, of wanting to know a complete stranger from a past time. Still I want to explore further how  Munch conveys emotions in his paintings that connect universally. One can connect to his paintings universally and individually in each our own ways. From a nostalgic perspective, the paintings connect to an emotion of a memory of place, of identity, and belongingness. 

What is interesting to start with is to explore how Munch used nostalgia as a theme in many of his paintings.  "The Sun" , is one of his most famous paintings, which is also an ambiguous painting. The sun can be understood as a symbol of the eternal and universal. Munch himself described it as " I saw the sun rise above the rocks- I painted the sun" . The painting awakens memories of the sun and the sea, which is something everyone can connect to, the sun and water, a universality exists. At the same time, the paintings are connected to earlier times, no mobile phones and so on existed back then, and therefore the paintings also have a nostalgic effect on today's viewers.

The main focus is to explore nostalgia further through Munch, by being in this nostalgic place of Munch's studio; the visible and invisible  forms and structures of the studio space surrounding me, and digging further into personal and universal nostalgic connections to his paintings. Looking, touching, listening, wandering around at Ekely. Like a form of geological framework, the drawings and paintings are connected to the past through the physical space of the old building. Here I critically reflect on nostalgia existing both as a true emotion connected to memories of the past, but also as something that does not exist anymore, being critically aware of that I can never exist in Munch's time. I can never go back.  A reclaiming of space must exist through my own identity and belonging.

The exploration started in 2014 which was the first year I started painting at Ekely. I have returned every year, trying to make sense of this encountering of Munch and nostalgia. One cannot go back in time and meet Munch, however the studio exists as a tangible cast of an encountering of the present space connected to the past. One can return to the same space. The studio is what remains, immortal in a way through its physicality. A tangible landscape of memory. The memory of the past resides in the buildings structures. Here, the thick walls penetrating the past into the remaining presence. Become one with the present. Here the exploration  begins. 

The painting series explores a personal nostalgic narrative through a series of visual dialogs that connects to Edvard Munch, his space, and paintings.

Paintings Ekely
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Dialog  1:

Exploring the space at Ekely; here combining visual dialogs consisting of a series of small paintings with the existing space of Edvard Munch. What dialog appears? Can we translate language between the past, present and future? Connecting the dialog to the painting “ seated model on the couch” , by Edvard Munch, the anonymous face reflects a dialogue of language and the edges of in-between spaces, of identity and how it actually reflects a space that is both visible and invisible, an encounter of someone we may never meet. Here, the dialog can begin. 
.(dialogs at Ekely)/ oil paintings on linen &wood, 2021, E. Munch’s studio, Ekely/
Dialog 2

portrait as Edvard Munch/ Ekely/2021

The gaze of distance. What is it about the gaze that moves us? Its as if the gaze is going back to the gaze, back to its origin of longing, longing of distance, the poetics of loss, the gaze is spanned in layered time, like painting the painting, the brushstrokes are poetic texts about distant memory, about the gone about someone one never will meet. Like painting to oneself, along the edges of the gaze, painting in solitary a composition about the past, present and in-between time, a nameless voice, a gaze, an intensity of a need for the unknown, is it possible to connect through this landscape of loneliness?
.mapping edges of Munch /E Munchs studio at Ekely, Norway
Dialog 3

Painting in Munch’s studio , reflecting on his paintings, my dialog continues with the painting “Melancholy” by Edvard Munch: Melancholy is at the tip of my paint brush, finding the line, like the edge of one’s body, there one can stand, beyond the eyes, seeing the pained color violet and hope of green. Wanting to get closer, melancholy rests at a distance, as if not to fall into the monotony of living. Reality, so delicate and fragile, melancholy vibrates, messages of a colorful mysterious landscape.

(landscape of Melancholy)/ oil on wood panel/150*150/ Edvard Munch studio, Ekely:
Dialog 4

.The dialog is connected to the painting “ the artist and his model” , by Edvard Munch. Is it possible to turn the dialog around? Who Is this anonymous model in the background? Annie Fjeldbu. Two anonymous faces reflecting a dialogue of language and of identity ,  a space that is both visible and invisible. Here, side by side, who is the model and who is the artist? Who is now turned inwards and who outwards? 
(Homage to Annie Fjeldbu: The model and Her artist)/ oil on wood panel/ diptych (50*40 each) /2021/ Edvard Munch Studio, Ekely 

Dialog 5 

(Mapping Munch I never met: the kiss) / oil on wood panel/ 150*150/2021/ Ekely

Exploring identity and nostalgia
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Dialog 6

.Exploring the space here at Ekely; the painting exists as a dialog in relation to «the night wanderer» by Edvard Munch. What dialog appears? Can we translate language between the past, present and future? the anonymous face reflects a dialogue of language and the edges of in-between spaces, of identity and how it actually reflects a space that is both visible and invisible, an encounter of someone we may never meet, or a space between the unconscious and concious space; between night and day; the night wanderer may exist 

(Landscape of the night wanderer) / oil on wood panel/ 150*150/ 2021/ Ekely, Edvard Munch Atelier, Oslo.
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