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Mapplethorpe + Munch

Mapplethorpe + Munch

Mapplethorpe + Munch is the fourth exhibition in the +Munch exhibition series at The Munch Museum. The exhibition explores similarities and disparities between Edvard Munch and Robert Mapplethorpe, both between the artists and their art.

“There is a number of fascinating parallels and points of contact between the art of Edvard Munch and Robert Mapplethorpe. This complex relationship is what the exhibition Mapplethorpe+Munch aims to explore. With 141 works from Mapplethorpe and 95 from Munch the exhibition presents similarities between two great artists that have never been done before.” The Munch Museum




Exhibition ongoing


Oslo, Norway


Exhibition design, catalog


The Munch Museum

After the two recent encounters with the contemporaries Van Gogh and Vigeland, we now again see Munch with an artist closer to us in time. Mapplethorpe’s art is manifested through the photographic medium, and the majority of the exhibited work is shown in black and white. A deep bluish gray color has therefore been chosen as the main color for the walls, accented by a flesh pink in the first room and exit area. 

In the central room of the exhibition the walls are black to accommodate the most controversial images. The partition walls are parallel with the longest walls to emphasize the rectangular shape of the main rooms in the museum, and to contrast the somber mood of the walls they are painted white. 

Entering the exhibition, one walks underneath a big number of shredded large-scale banners. With the exhibition title printed white on the black banners, the entrance makes for a surprising play with perspectives as you pass through. The transition from ordinary life into the fictitious world of art thus becomes both a sensory and mind-cleansing experience. 

The extensive exhibition catalog is published with the Belgian art book publisher Mercatorfonds. For the cover we chose the flesh pink color with debossed black foil lettering a tipped-in double portrait. The book is laid out with images gravitating towards the bottom of the pages, leaving generous space above. Typographically, the power that lies in the font is used boldly. The thematic divisions are the same as in the exhibitions, and follow the flow of the main essay by curator Jon-Ove Steihaug. The section with more technical information at the back of the book is printed on matte paper giving a subtly different tactile effect when you leaf through.