Ithra celebrates Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul exhibition

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A special preview of Ithra’s Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul exhibition was attended by prominent art and culture figures from across Saudi and the wider region. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

DHAHRAN —
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) celebrated a special preview of its Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul exhibition with a special viewing attended by prominent art and culture figures from across Saudi and the wider region.

Guests and attendees were welcomed by Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser who praised the exhibition partners for their collaboration in his opening speech.

Aker ASA CEO Øyvind Eriksen, Munch Museum Director Stein Henrichsen and Ithra’s Head of Programs Abdullah Al Rashid additionally gave speeches during the ceremony.

Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul presents 40 works by the internationally renowned Norwegian artist, including a lithograph version of his most famous painting The Scream, from 1895.

It is the first time that the work of Edvard Munch (1863-1944) has been exhibited in the Middle East. The exhibition has been organized in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway, Aker ASA and design firm Snøhetta. The exhibition, which is open to all, will run at Ithra until early September.

The exhibition introduces the work and ideas of Munch to audiences and explores the landscape as a key motif throughout his career. Munch’s landscapes became a mirror of his inner self through which he examined universal issues of the human soul.

he exhibition is presented across five specially designed pavilions within Ithra’s Great Hall, each focusing on a specific theme: Melancholy; Love; Despair; Loneliness; and Portraits of the Soul. In addition to the lithograph version of The Scream, the exhibition also features other renowned Munch works such as The Sick Child from 1896, Self-Portrait with Skeleton Arm and Cutting the Corn.

Aramco CEO Nasser welcomed the exhibition's partners, attendees and visitors. Mr. Nasser celebrated the collaborative efforts behind the exhibition, saying: “Cultural centers such as Ithra are built to be beacons of knowledge. They aim to encourage cross-cultural exchange and collaboration among nations in order to build a global network. They help establish cooperation between organizations and countries for a better world and future. History has shown us that there is a strong connection between the arts and culture, as well as economy and trade to create purpose. The Silk Road and the 'Ukath market stand as two prominent examples, known as economic hubs but celebrated for their cultural dimension.”

Ithra’s Director Ali Al-Mutairi, stated: “We are proud and honored to bring and host this very special exhibition of Edvard Munch’s celebrated works for the first time to this region, working with the Munch Museum in Oslo, Aker and Snøhetta. To have 40 works by such an influential artist as Edvard Munch on view, here at Ithra, including a lithograph version of his most famous work The Scream, is a privilege and at the very heart of what Ithra was established to do. In addition to championing the local Saudi creativity scene, Ithra was founded to promote cross cultural exchange and provide the people of Saudi — and indeed the region — with compelling new cultural experiences. This latest exhibition certainly does this.”

Stein Olav Henrichsen, director at the Munch Museum, also commented: “The Munch Museum is deeply committed to exhibiting internationally. We believe that cultural cooperation across national borders promotes knowledge and understanding between people from different countries and backgrounds. For us, the collaboration with Ithra is an event of major significance - we are grateful for this excellent and inspiring collaboration.”

Edvard Munch was a pioneering artist within the history of Modern Art. Not only did he challenge the conventions of art in his time, he addressed issues of universal significance that still have relevance today. Throughout his artistic career, he persistently scrutinized existential challenges of the self and the significance of personal experiences and he came to be one of the most influential artists of his generation.

‘Landscapes of the Soul’ will be hosted until Sept. 3, at Ithra’s Great Hall; a multi-purpose indoor display space created to host international and temporary exhibitions from global institutions as part of the Center’s dedication to cross-cultural exchange. The Great Hall has previously hosted the successful Leonardo Da Vinci: Codex Atlanticus exhibition from Italy.

In addition to the exhibition, Ithra will host workshops twice a month, from June until September 2019, which will teach visitors new art techniques inspired by Munch’s work. The workshops are open to all and registration can be completed on Ithra’s website.


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