Curator Nicholas Cullinan introduces Tate Modern’s Edvard Munch exhibition, and explains how the artist’s fascination with new technologies influenced his paintings
Few modern artists are better known and yet less understood than Edvard Munch. He is often seen as a 19th-century Symbolist painter but this exhibition shows how he engaged with modernity and was inspired by the everyday life outside of his studio such as street scenes and incidents reported in the media.
He was also influenced by the technological developments in cinema and photography at the time, referenced by his use of prominent foregrounds and strong diagonals. This technique creates the illusion of figures walking towards the viewer, a trick seen in many of Munch’s most innovative work.
Underpinning Munch’s work is his preoccupation with psychological themes, exploring states of anxiety, isolation and fear — states which, as this exhibition shows, Munch continued to explore right up to the end of his life.