Saturday 13 August 2011

The Flower of Pain

Not everyone will agree that art must be born out of pain. It has to be heartfelt though. And the creative process may require that you give your utmost.

"The Flower of Pain".
Chrysanthemum, Steel grass,

In this ikebana arrangement I have used dying branches with black bark, cut into small pieces and put together with nails to create a rather compact Hana dome, a flower fixture that becomes an integrated part of the arrangement. Dark red Chrysanthemum and two more vivid red Gladiolus gives the colour.

This is my interpretation of the rather dramatic woodcut "The Flower of Pain" (1898) by Edvard Munch. The artist is kneeling on the ground with his upper body twisted in pain, blood pouring out of his heart. Out of the soil that is soaked in his blood grows a lily. The flower nourished by the blood symbolizes art forcing it's way as a necessity of life.

This is the last ikebana arrangement from the series inspired by Munch's art that I made earlier this summer for an exhibition at Oslo Rose Days. I hope you have enjoyed them. The exhibition takes place every summer in the Freia Hall, an integrated part of the Freia chocolate factory in Oslo. The walls of the hall are covered with large paintings by Munch. This hidden gem of art is now to be sold, so this might be our last year.

Thursday 11 August 2011

The Dance of Life

Passion, longing and despair are central motives in the art of Edvard Munch. The painting "The Dance of Life" (1899) pictures a midsommer night with dancing couples in the sunlit night.

This painting has been interpreted as a reflection of his own turbulent relationship with love. Munch himself is dancing with a woman in red, the passion of his life who betrayed him. When he again is struck by love Munch is not able to respond and he becomes the one who betrays, leaving the lover in grief.
"I am dancing with my true love - a memory of her.
A smiling, blond-haired woman enters
who wishes to take the flower of love
- but it won't allow itself to be taken.
And on the other side one can see her
dressed in black troubled by the couple dancing
- rejected - as I was rejected from her"
(from Munch's diary)

"The Dance of Life".
Wild rose, white and red bush roses,

I'm using three vases by a friend of mine, and winding or dancing branches of wild roses to capture the energy between the three main characters in the painting. White and red bush roses and dark purple black Monkshood are used to reflect the different roles in the dance of life. White being the colour of expectation and hope, red the colour of passion and life, and black beeing the colour of greif and death.

Monday 1 August 2011

Four Girls

Four Girls in Åsgårdstand, from 1902, is one of Edvard Munch's more harmonious motives. It exists in several versions dating from the same periode. Twenty years later Munch painted the four girls once more. This time as one of 12 paintings for the Freia Hall where the yearly Rose Days ikebana exhibition takes place. Munch reused his motives, this time in a more optimistic colour scheme.

"Four Girls", miniature ikebana.
Thistle and Astilbe, Rosebud and Verbena,
Echinacea and Freesia, Cosmos and Maple.

I've tried to catch the spirit of the four girls posing for the artist in this set of miniature ikebana, by putting together parts from different flowers in new ways. Miniature ikebana was introduced as a new style in the 1950s by Sofu Teshigahara, founder of the Sogetsu School of ikebana. Later Sofu's daughter Kasumi Teshigahara developed the miniature style and made it one of her trademarks. Originally minitaure ikebana were made in very small containers such as lipstick caps. I'm using small sized Norwegian and Danish midcentury pottery for this set, which makes the arrangements a bit larger than the original style.

Munch painted many of his well known paintings in the small town Åsgårdstrand where he had a house. He said walking around in Åsgårdstrand was like walking around in his paintings.

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