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‘Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch\, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation’ is a project organised by the Office for Contempor ary Art Norway (OCA) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice\, as the o fficial Norwegian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition\, la Biennale di Venezia in 2013. The exhibition\, which includes a series o f rarely exhibited works by Edvard Munch in addition to a newly commissione d film by Lene Berg\, revolves around emancipation as an issue always vexed with contradiction – between the realm of freedom and the consequences of the isolation that often accompany the pursuit of a qualitatively different \, ‘alternative’ life. In his Essay on Liberation\, Herbert Marcus e notes that the striving toward a ‘new sensibility’ involves a psychedelic \, narcotic release from the rationality of an established system\, as well as from the logic that attempts to change that system. Such new sensibilit y\, which resides in the gap between the existing order and true liberation \, might lead to a radical transformation – and in this shift art functions as a technique through which to reconstruct reality from its illusion\, it s imitation\, its harmony\, towards a matter not yet given\, still to be re alised.

The impulse to operate in the margins – on the outsid e trying to break in or on the inside redefining the context – is one of th e key driving forces in the history of art\, and is also at the centre of ‘ Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch\, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emanc ipation’. The exhibition\, curated by Marta Kuzma\, Director\, OCA\, Angela Vettese\, President\, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and Pablo Lafuente\, A ssociate Curator\, OCA\, will bring together rarely exhibited works from th e collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo with Lene Berg’s new film Ung Løs Gris (Dirty Young Loose\, 2013) in order to explore the r elationship between art\, its social context and changing gender relationsh ips\, both in the age of emancipation in which Munch lived and today.

At the beginning of the 20th century\, sexual norms and traditiona l gender roles were questioned amid new psychological theories of sex and p olitics and a struggle for women’s equality. Challenged by such development s\, Munch faced the alienation that characterised the Christiania Bohemia\, a society bidding for emancipation but trapped in ‘reality’\, struggling b etween two options: assimilating shared values\, or going beyond them in or der to construct a new frame for perception. Munch’s emphatic treatment of these themes from 1902 to 1908\, before entering the asylum\, reflected an internal ambiguity and anguish. Munch described this period as an ‘eternal civil war’\, after which his work moved to a more distanced treatment of su bjects\, in social caricatures in which he offers an ironic critique of an increasingly capitalist and permissive society. In Social Studies\, Cau se and Effect (1910)\, made shortly after\, Munch also reflected upon the conditions of artistic production and its reception\, via patronage\, s ales\, criticism and public opinion\, opening new dimensions for his work\, from a psychological perspective into social and historical realms.

These issues are echoed in Lene Berg’s Dirty Young Loose ( 2013)\, a film that concentrates on three different characters who are inte rrogated about their roles as either victims or perpetrators in a complex s ituation. The film explores the interpretation of human behaviour based on preconceived concepts and established norms. Just like the exhibition as a whole\, the film presents the deconstruction of an original scene which fun ctions as a catalyst for a revision of the politics of liberation\, of gend er struggle and of internal conflict – the dilemma of emancipation.

ON PETER WATKINS' EDVARD MUNCH (1973)
Edvard Munch is considered by Watkins as his m ost personal film. The work dramatises three decades of the life of the art ist in the form of a docudrama that conveys Munch’s subjective vision about tragic family events\, difficulties in his first sexual relationships\, an d opposition from the conservative forces in Christiania (Oslo) following h is engagement with its bohemian circle in the mid-1880s. The film concentra tes on Munch’s personal reactions to these events\, enfolds them in the soc ial and historical reality of the time\, and shows how they directly affect ed the development of his style as a painter.

In parallel to his work as a filmmaker\, Peter Watkins analysed and challenged for over fo ur decades the widely accepted escalation of the standardised pictorial and narrative form of Hollywood within all forms of contemporary audiovisual c ommunication\, including modern internet technology. The artist Edvard Munc h is often referred to as a ‘modern’ artist\, but – Watkins asks – how are we to define ‘modernism’ in the broadest sense\, in a world that idolises m anipulative audiovisual forms which encourage mass consumerism\, political passivity\, and escalating environmental disaster?

DTEND:20131124 DTSTAMP:20140917T075456 DTSTART:20130601 GEO:45.42865;12.356619 LOCATION:La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale)\,Giardini della Biennale Viale dei Giardini Pubblici\nVenice\, 30122 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:NORDIC PAVILION (NORWAY) - Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch\, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation \, Lene Berg\, Edvard Munch UID:278964 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR