Edvard Munch, «Kyss IV»

Impressions. Five Centuries of Woodcuts

6. november 2015–24. januar 2016

The National Gallery

This exhibition will showcase the woodcut and its many functions and stylistic possibilities.

With varying degrees of popularity, the age-old woodcut technique has been in use since the sixteenth century, and there seems recently to be a renewed interest in this art form. Is there a connection between today’s digitized visual media and the woodcuts of yore?

A good answer here is mass communication. Five centuries ago, words and images were disseminated to the common people through woodcuts. Although this is perhaps far removed from today’s digital modes of reproduction, the democratic idea of widely reproducing and distributing images has remained at the core.

Wood structure, lines, and colour

The exhibition, which is primarily based on the museum’s own holdings, focuses on the functions and stylistic possibilities allowed by the woodcut. The thematic division indicates above all how both material and technique have influenced the artists’ visual styles.

We see how artists such as Edvard Munch and Paul Gauguin used the wood block’s structure and growth ring pattern as an aesthetical element in their woodcuts. We also show the tremendous variation in the use of lines and surfaces, from Albrecht Dürer’s thin, meticulous linework to Emil Nolde’s rougher and more angular forms.

Another theme in the exhibition is the technique’s inherent possibilities when it comes to the use of colour, as can be seen in the sophisticated nineteenth-century Japanese woodcuts and later on in works by Nikolai Astrup and Hanne Borchgrevink.

Woodcut as a process

The German artist Thomas Kilpper, who is also a professor at the Academy of Art and Design in Bergen, works with large-scale woodcuts from a socially critical perspective. The exhibition will dedicate an entire room to his work, where he will use the floor to create woodcuts and thereafter mount the prints as a three-dimensional installation in the room.

The exhibition will also feature a group of students from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts working on a woodcut project as an ongoing, collective process. During certain periods they will be present in one of the rooms to show visitors how they work with the medium. 

The exhibition curators are Møyfrid Tveit, Andrea Kroksnes and Bodil Sørensen. The education curators are Frithjof Bringager og Anna Carin Hedberg. Project manager: Elsebet Kjerschow.

Location: The National Gallery

Address: Universitetsgata 13, Oslo 



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Press Contact: Elise Lund tel: +47 993 21 942



Mamma Andersson, Berit Arnestad, Nikolai Astrup, Ernst Barlach, Georg Baselitz, Anna-Eva Bergman, Ståle Blæsterdalen, Marianne Boberg, Hanne Borchgrevink, Johannes Borchgrevink Hansen, Marianne Bratteli, A K Dolven, Albrecht Dürer, Thorbjørn Egner, Ludvig Eikaas, Magne Furuholmen, Paul Gauguin, Zinnia Gjengstø, Niclas Gulbrandsen, Tom Gundersen, Gunnar S. Gundersen, Guttorm Guttormsgaard, Tore Hansen, Mattias Härenstam, Erik Harry Johannessen, Erich Heckel, Utagawa Hiroshige, Totoya Hokkei, Katsushika Hokusai, Shunkōsai Hokushu, Eli Hovdenak, Iver Iversen Jåks, Ola Jonsrud, Asger Jorn, Marthe Karen Kampen, Anne Kampmann, Ludvig Karsten, Annette Kierulf, Caroline Kierulf, Harald Kihle, Thomas Kilpper, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Per Kirkeby, Torii Kiyonaga, Einar Lasse Kolsrud, Sonja Krohn, Utagawa Kunisada I, Jan-Henning Larsen, Trine Lindheim, Ragnhild Løkke, Tachibana Morikuni, Edvard Munch, Karl Erik Nilsen, Emil Nolde, Ørnulf Ranheimsæter, Johs Rian, Elin Rødseth, Jenny Røed Vard, Knut Rumohr, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Eystein Sigurdsson, Tal R, Vilhelm Tveteraas, Ugo da Carpi , Kitagawa Utamaro, Felix Vallotton, Gunhild Vegge, Ulla Wennberg, Erik Werenskiold, Frans Widerberg, Michel Wolgemut