Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oslo National Gallery

Stop one for the day was the Oslo National Gallery. In 2006, somewhere between Winnipeg, and Calgary, I developed a real love of art. I'm not talking “love of art” in that, I know the history, and I'm aware of eveything that led towards a pieces creation. I simply mean all of a sudden I could stand wandering through an art gallery, and even began to like some pieces over others.

I'm no art historian, nor do I really want to be, but I know what I like – and I'm even starting to know why I like it. So is the Oslo gallery a place that you should take yourself? Well that depends – does looking at art make you want to rip your hair out and scream, in rage, at the top of your lungs? It does? Well then, yeah, you should definitely visit the Oslo gallery, because it's there that you will find the one print that sums up your feelings perfectly: Edvard Munch's Skrik (The Scream.)

It can be found displayed proudly in room 24. It reminds me of something a child would have painted in kindergarten. It has the wide brush strokes of those easily affordable red handled brushes that would constantly loose hairs, but never before being completely ruined by five year olds forgetfully leaving them out to harden and dry – still covered in paint. The painting even looks as if it was painted on that bulk brown paper that will forever be linked to my early painting career in junior K.

And yet, the more you look at it the more you realize that there is nothing else in the room quite like it. None of Munch's other works even come close to matching the piece. Nor do any of the others in the gallery. It remains unique, and the more you look at it the more you begin the appreciate it. Would it still be as powerful if I hadn't been told from everything from teachers to the Simpson's that it should be powerful – I don't know – but nevertheless it was.

For a moment I stopped to think, how would the internet react to these pieces if they were posted online today? “PLZ! That is so weak! I could do better than that!” True it wasn't an “realistic” as Munch's other prized piece on display, The Madonna, but even that people would write about: “Do not want! Look at those lopsided boobs – and that waist? Gross! Give that b*tch a sammich! Om nom nom nom.” You know – it's a good thing that art came into its own before the internet. I think there's a money making website idea in that last paragraph.

There are some other pieces that are worth discovering in the gallery as well.

Dresden in Moonline, by Knud Baade, in room 22 is by far my favourite piece in the gallery. There's something about the world, not as it is – or even as it was – but how people dreamed it could or should be that is fantastic. And the lighting in this piece is just – beyond.

Bridge in Northern Wales, by Hans Gude, in room 18 has me questioning if the world ever looked like this, or if it was just fantasy. Knowing some of the wilder areas in Great Brittan I also wondering if sights like this could still be seen to this day.

The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolas Arbo, taking up most of the wall in room 29 is a piece that is one step – beyond. Though it comes across very dark (under exposed even, if such a thing would be possible,) it reinforces that you are indeed in the north – and that these myths and legends might live on outside the pages of Marvel Comics up here.

Winter Night in the Mountains, by Harald Sohlberg, in room 30 reminds me of the Group of Seven – and as such, home. I like it.

The 9th of April 1940, Reidar Aulre, room 32 is a very powerful piece. It's stylized, and beautiful – simply depicting a truck carrying a coffin, covered in the Norwegian flag, past a number of trees. I'd like to know more about the history behind this piece.

Medican Examination at St. Louis Hospital in Paris, by Carl Von Vanny, in room 32 is the last of the pieces that really struck a chord with me. Still – I wonder just what is going on here. Who is being examined? Once more, I'm hit with the desire to know more about a work.

The Oslo National Gallery – free to visit, with free lockers as well (lock up your gear and take to the streets if you wish) – is definitely worth at least a quick peek.

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