Norway

The Nightmare of Emancipation: From Edvard Munch to Anders Breivik

Norway’s presentation is meant to celebrate the 150th birthday of painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944), entitled “Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch and the dilemma of emancipation.” A central motive is Munch depiction of the “Pile of Humanity,” which, according to the press statement “is a reflection on an emancipatory drive that might conclude in tragedy.” Munch’s struggle with death, the oppressive role of Christianity mediated in the form of his authoritarian father, and his mental breakdown leading even to a shooting incident seems to relate uncomfortably to Anders Breivik’s recent massacre of 69 mostly teenage members of a Labour youth organization on the island of Utøya, who was convinced of being a modern crusader fighting the islamization of Europe and the appeasement politics of the Labour Party. Whereas Munch was capable of engaging in an introspective search for the motives of his anxiety and the underlying symbolism, Breivik decided to externalize them. We move from a painted pile of humanity, to an actual pile of dead humans. At what level is the Norwegian pavilion an attempt to overcome Breivik’s nightmarish vision of what he considered to be a “cleansed” Europe by means of the historical figure of Munch?

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and Jonas Staal

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) (public institute)
Artists:
Edvard Munch; Lene Berg
Curators:
Marta Kuzma; Pablo Lafuente; Angela Vettese

Curator

Name:
Marta Kuzma
Gender:
Female
Born:
The United States of America, 1964
Lives and works in:
Norway
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Curator

Name:
Pablo Lafuente
Gender:
Male
Born:
Spain, 1976
Lives and works in:
The United Kingdom
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Curator

Name:
Angela Vettese
Gender:
Female
Born:
Italy, 1960
Lives and works in:
Italy
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Lene Berg
Gender:
Female
Born:
Norway, 1965
Lives and works in:
Germany and the United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Edvard Munch
Gender:
Male
Born:
Norway, 1863
Deceased:
1944
Lived and worked in:
Norway
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
3

Politics & Economics

State System:
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Ruling Political Party:
Centre-left Red-Green coalition of the Labour Party, the Socialist Left Party and the agrarian Centre Party.
Population (World Bank, 2011):
4,953,088
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$98,081
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
3.3% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$4,751,150,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$6,973,000,000

Alliances


International Criminal Court recognized
NATO
OECD
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1905 (union with Sweden dissolved)
Last Major Border Revision:
2010 (maritime border treaty with Russia)
International Court of Justice cases:
3
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
44
Nuclear Force?
No
Participation in Multinational Missons:
NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. UN peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Congo, Haiti, Israel & the Middle East, Kosovo, Liberia and Sudan.