+Munch is an ambitious two-year exhibition series at The Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. The six exhibitions explore the work of Edvard Munch side by side works of artists of Bjarne Melgaard, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Vigeland, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jasper Johns, and Asger Jorn.
“The exhibitions of the next two years are intended as a form of elevated encounters between the works of two artists. They are placed in relation to each other in ways that will open up to new layers of meaning in their work. This of course goes both ways, as it always does in a relationship. The encounters will alternate from confrontation and disparity to connections and influence. In some cases it is a question of direct dialogue, while in others, parallels that we can see in hindsight will emerge, or a combination of these.” The Munch Museum
Together with the curatorial team at the museum, Snøhetta is engaged in the exhibition design of all six exhibitions in the series. In addition to working on the color schemes, exhibition text and overall design, Snøhetta is also responsible for the book design of exhibition catalogs for four of the exhibitions, and the visual identity of the exhibition series, knitting it all together.
The first book of the series published with renowned art publisher Hatje Cantz in Germany was made to accompany the Melgaard+Munch exhibition. At first the catalog was thought to be a standalone element with an experimental approach. Our aim was to see if we could make Munch resemble Melgaard, a less obvious strategy than the other way around. We developed systems for random image selection and geometry based matrixes for mixing multiple images or decomposing single images.
When the exhibition was mounted, the book defined the attitude and the very experimental approach to presenting Munch’s works. As the first exhibition in the series this raised the bar and paved the way for a range of new possibilities with the following exhibitions.
As a common visual playground for all the exhibitions we use the entrance to the exhibition area to mark the transition from everyday life into the exhibition itself, playing with perspective, colors and layered typography – and ultimately tactile effects.
For Belgian publisher Mercatorfonds, Snøhetta designed extensive books to accompany the Vigeland+Munch and Mapplethorpe+Munch exhibitions, and is now starting work on the final book for the Jorn+Munch investigating the painterly relationship between the Great Dane Asger Jorn of the CoBrA movement and his older colleague Edvard Munch.
The +Munch series visual identity was devised to support the exhibitions in the series. We decided to let the “guests” in the series start each exhibition title as a courtesy. Each exhibition was given a typographical identity through the choice of primary font. The exhibition series logo is designed as a clock where all artists revolve around the plus sign – with the current guest in the 12 o’clock position.