Getting Lost in the Art of Edvard Munch in Tokyo

I stand in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, my pupils dilating as I catch sight of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I have seen this painting so many times through pop culture, but nothing has prepared me for seeing it in real life. It’s really here, right in front of me. Well, at least one version of it (1910 tempera and oil version). I become lost in its world, feeling the terrors the person in the painting is feeling.

The Scream was one of the many paintings exhibited at the Munch: A Retrospective exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. The exhibition celebrates the life of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Being in Tokyo at the time of this exhibition, I made sure I explored the show. Little did I know I would find myself lost in the world of his art while there. I found myself on a journey through loneliness, love, fear and trauma.

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With language barriers, I was left to interpret Munch’s works in my own way. As with many things I have previously experienced, my interpretations relate back to pop culture. The Kiss (1897) was one example of this. The way the couple were morphing together, it was much like the one R.J. McReady and Dr. Blair found at the Norwegian base in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). I later found out this painting was in fact depicting how two people unify in love.

edvard munch the kiss

Excluding The Scream, the paintings that made the most impact on me were Two Human Beings, The Lonely Ones (1933-35), and The Sun (1916). My interpretation of Two Human Beings, The Lonely Ones was how lost these two people were in a strange new world. I thought of them being the only two humans on an alien planet or the last two on Earth. The Sun stood like a shining beacon at the dawn of a new world, one unfamiliar to the one we live in. These two paintings combined together drew me into a world where the everyday as we know it is gone. I began connecting them to Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, a book I’d recently read. I imagined these two people staring out over a world with a bright beacon rising over the horizon and children dancing through the forests that cover the ruins of once great cities.

This exhibition had me one more surprise for me, in the form of Pokémon. Made specifically for this event, there were folders, postcards and even TCG cards where The Scream was redone using Pokémon as souvenirs from the exhibition. These stood out to me as much as the visuals of the paintings themselves. Unlike most of Munch’s artworks, these were familiar to me. The way they were made though, not only was adorable but uncanny. These souvenirs were unique to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

Stepping back into the world, which was still unfamiliar to me, I smile. The exhibition was worth the 1600 yen (AUD$18) entry fee. Munch’s paintings spoke to both my creative side and allowed me to understand him better as an artist, despite the language barriers. I feel this was aided more due to experiencing it in Japanese rather than its original Norwegian. It became one of the highlights of my journey and I recommend to anyone who is going to Japan to check out a major exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.


Words by Cameron Lowe

Meet-the-Team-Cameron2
Cameron Lowe is a horror and sci-fi writer, editor and student. He’s had fiction and articles featured in Speakeasy Zine and Empire Times. He loves to read, play video games, and drink green tea. He’s one of the 2018 editors at Empire Times. He tweets at @cloweshadowking.

In Conversation: Anthony Christou

 

During AVCon 2018, I had the pleasure of meeting fantasy artist, Anthony Christou. He had a wide variety of work on sale: all his original art, as well as his comic series, Luminous Ages, and card games in addition to the series. Recently, I was able to catch up with Christou to talk about his work and extensive successes as a working artist and illustrator.

Christou is a very driven person with a vibrant creative spark. He started off with a Bachelor of Visual Art before going on to do a Masters in Illustration at Uni SA. Christou soon after decided to follow his passion in game art and illustration. Christou began freelance work in the games industry and in 2012 decided to fully devote himself to this career. Christou worked with mentors such as Rob C. Richardson and Simon Scales, who encouraged him to further develop his work. Through exhibiting with Adelaide Illustrators, Christou secured enough freelance work to support himself.

In 2013, Christou worked on a New Zealand Kickstarter game called Path of Exile. It was here that he learned more about the games industry. For Path of Exile Christou worked on a number of aspects including illustration, 3D modelling, concept art, assets, and in-game artwork.  It was during this year that Christou began his convention work, attended Adelaide Supernova for the first time, and achieved insane sales for his original fantasy art. Christou now attends up to eighteen conventions a year, earning a profit large enough to make a comfortable living. Since then he has given talks at both Supanova and Comic-Con. The best part about conventions, he says, is that you get to leave the house and make new friends.

While much of his work is digital, Christou still works with traditional mediums as well. His piece ‘Dangerous Seas’ became the cover art for The Path Less Travelled’s album ‘Cast Out the Crowds’. Christou spoke about being approached by a lady who told him that every time she feels sad she looks at ‘Dangerous Seas’ and it reminds her she can make it through the storm. He was surprised to find that his work could have such an impact on people.

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Anthony Christou, ‘Dangerous Seas’

In 2014, Christou decided to explore his interest in making a comic series. Luminous Ages is now four issues in and remains the second highest funded comic Kickstarter in Australia with only 180 backers and a pledge of around $17,000. Thanks to this funding, Christou is able to hire freelance artists and editors to help bring his project to life. Rob C Richardson, Anthony Earl, Elena Lukina, and Christy Butt worked closely with Christou on this project.

Luminous Ages itself is a series set in a surreal world where dreams can become reality. Thirteen dragon gods are fighting for control of both the dream and real world plane. It is up to the main character, Thrakos, and a cast of dream mages to keep them at bay. The series blends cultures and mythologies together to create a multi-cultural fantasy which addresses environmental issues.

A mixture of cultures and mythologies, Luminous Ages presents a story which heralds both multiculturalism and environmentalism. The series gives Christou not only the opportunity to explore his interests but his artistic potential. Contrary to the American style comics which we are most familiar with, Christou works in a style which is very similar to French or Italian, providing richly detailed illustrations in a comic format.

As well as game design and illustration, Christou has also worked with a number of film companies including Disney, Two-tone Studios, and Wolf Creek Productions.

Christou recommends exploring your artistic freedom and not to work for free too much. He says, ‘creativity can be blocked when you work with the wrong people.’ He notes that there are lots of opportunities within Australia, plenty more than when he started out. He also stresses the importance of taking a break, saying he usually gives himself one day off a week and a couple of weeks each year. Without breaks you can’t generate new ideas.

Being an artist is an endurance race. You need to spend a lot of time developing your work and looking after yourself. And it needs to be sustainable.

He reminds us that artists and writers are a business, and you need to understand creative business. You can’t have everything for nothing and you can’t expect it to be easy. We don’t live in an age like DaVinci and Michaelangelo whose artistic development was sponsored by the church and the military respectively.

When asked about the most difficult aspects of being a working artist, Christou said it was the financial side, business, and the sacrifices you have to make for your passion. His favourite things about working full time as an artist are, of course, sleeping and travelling, but also creating images from his mind, he loves being able to “bring his imagination to life.”

Christou’s next major project is a Kickstarer for theme decks of his card game Dragon Dreams. The Kickstarter is due to launch at 5:30pm Adelaide time today. That’s in just a few hours! You can find it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/luminousages/

Christou is also on Youtube and Patreon.

Check out his website here!

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell

Images property of Anthony Christou

Viewpoint at Light Square Gallery

Ann Podzuweit: Torrens Reflections.


When we think of Adelaide’s River Torrens, vivid colour and bright lights isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. However, the ‘Viewpoint’ exhibition currently showing at the Adelaide College of the Arts was full of playful splashes of colour and movement that captured the life and movement that occurs in and around the Torrens every day.

The River Torrens is a significant icon of Adelaide, one that the artists from Viewpoint thought appropriate to choose as their focus for the exhibition. Last week at Adelaide’s Light Square Gallery, nine artists displayed their wondrous works for everyone to see. The artists included Annelise Forster, Bernadette Freeman, Jane Heron-Kirkmoe, Nica Kukolj, Kylie Nichols, Sophie Mahoney-Longford, Thea Nicole Paulmitan, Ann Podzuweit, and Natasha Todino. All recent graduates, they have come together to host their very own exhibition. Talking to one of the feature artists, Nica Kukolij, she told us that the exhibition was planned during their lunch breaks between classes: an astounding effort during their final year of study.

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Nica Kukolj: Reflect & Ripple, Immersed, Twilight Torrens, Sunset Stroll, Soft Dewdrops, Festive Flora, and Dusty Dawn.


The name of the exhibition, ‘Viewpoint’, conveyed the variety of the artist’s differing interpretations of the river. Layered oil paintings, manipulated photography, wire sculptures and bamboo boats all express the same intense connection to this sacred place.

Rich in history and vital to the location on which Adelaide now stands, the Torrens was the perfect muse. The river is, and always has been, a crucial part of our city that is essential to the original land owners and the early European settlers’ survival. The artists of Viewpoint have displayed this in their exhibition as an icon for creativity, showcasing its natural beauty and prolific wildlife through a variety of mediums.

Proudly displaying our festival state, some pieces incorporated small bursts of colour to show the artistic side of Adelaide in full swing. Artist Natasha Todino used oil, acrylic and glitter to present the beauty and glamour of our state. Thea Nicole Paulmitan used manipulated photography to depict a surreal dreaminess around central Adelaide, which was a reflection of bustling ‘Mad March’ and the bright lights of the Fringe.

Apart from these, one particular piece that stood out was the beautifully serene oil on paper paintings by Sophie Mahoney-Longford. The careful placing of the minimal objects in the painting draws the eye around the soft, murky background. This was really resounding with the audience because, while others had used colour to capture Adelaide’s festival side, this really felt like the every-day Torrens, quiet and peaceful.

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Sophie Mahoney-Longford: Riverbank, Ripple, and Reeds.


The exhibition also reiterates the artistic touch that women have in our community. The exhibits created a textual experience, expressing an inner monologue of not only the flora and fauna in Adelaide’s center but our city’s renowned festival nature.

Being at opening night was a pleasure. The artists were absolutely glowing with pride. Surrounded by family, friends and adoring fans, they were completely awash with the happiness of creation and contribution to society. The atmosphere of excitement inside the exhibition just added to the ambience of the whole experience. Both of us would highly recommend attending this exhibition is you wish to bask in the pride of living in such a beautiful city.

 

Viewpoint will be on show until May 31 at Adelaide’s Light Square Gallery and all pieces are available to purchase.

 


Words by Sarah Ingham and Kayla Gaskell

 

The Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay

 

The Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay is an exhibit I have been excited to see ever since it was announced late last year. Having studied the impressionists in high school and hearing that familiar names and works would be in little old Adelaide was such an exciting prospect. And unlike a lot of the things I studied in school, they made an impression on me. Familiar names such as Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Morisot, Renoir, and Cézanne had my heart in a flutter. All artists whose work I never expected to have the opportunity to see, particularly not here in Adelaide.

The Colours of Impressionism is a major exhibition, one of the biggest to come to the Art Gallery of South Australia, featuring 65 paintings from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The exhibition tells the story of the evolution of colour throughout the French Impressionist movement of the 19th century.

The French Impressionist movement is one of the most famous artistic movements as it shows the turn from traditional art (which valued realism) towards modern art. Impressionism was revolutionary and led artists to question whether the purpose of art was to produce true and accurate depictions or to produce something which could be enjoyed by all.

When I am in an art gallery I always opt to wander rather than have a guided tour as I enjoy the freedom in lingering by each piece as long as I like. Seeing this exhibition was no different. It was exciting to see so many pieces that were both familiar and others which were not.

For someone unfamiliar with the movement, the display is quite comprehensive and explains everything you need to know about the works you are viewing and the movement they encompass. Information on the movement and the pieces is printed on the walls. You don’t need any prior knowledge to enjoy the exhibit.

Impressionism is about capturing the effect of light. This means that the same scene might have been painted on various occasions at different points in the day. It is characterised by small, visible brush strokes and paintings that capture nature and the every-day, giving it a sense of realism. I mentioned earlier that the movement was revolutionary. During this period the range of colours and pigments available for paint was expanding, encouraging artists to experiment in new ways and produce new works focused on colour instead of conforming to the Academy.

The exhibition’s focus on colour is well represented from room to room. It began with the dark, sombre tones which carried over from realism, and moved towards the bright, neons of neo-impressionism and modernist movements such as fauvism.

I would highly recommend checking out the exhibition if you’re in the city, particularly if you have an interest in art-history. The beauty of impressionism is that is breaks away from the idea that art must be entirely realistic. Impressionism provides an impression of a scene or moment without adhering to the strictures of realism.
The exhibit will be showing at the Art Gallery of South Australia until July 29th 2018 and tickets can be purchased at both gallery or online.

 

Words by Kayla Gaskell