Art is the opposite of nature. A work of art comes from the inner soul of a human being. Art is the picture’s form brought into being through human nerves – heart – brain – eye.

(Edvard Munch, 1907-08)

Edvard Munch’s reflections on art, nature and a picture’s coming into being provide a conceptual starting point for this presentation of KODE's collection of international modern art. The exhibition begins with works by Munch – and ends with late-modernistic Op Art, where the picture’s formational basis has shifted from the artist’s soul to the viewer’s retina. Among the artists represented is Georges Braque, Diego Rivera, Paul Klee, Anna-Eva Bergman and Joan Miró. You can also see several works by Picasso, for instance the portrait ‘Sylvette’ from 1954.

The question of what a work of art visualises is themed in pictorial art from the first half of the twentieth century: Munch did not paint what he saw, but what he had seen. Paul Klee sought not to reproduce the visible, but to make visible. Pablo Picasso depicted objects as he imagined them, not as he saw them. The modernistic picture turns away from all that is superfluous, focusing instead on subjectivity and exploration.

The Stenersen Collection forms the core of KODE’s modern artcollection. When the financier Rolf Stenersen donated large portions of his private collection to Bergen Municipality in 1971, the museum acquired several key works by Munch, Picasso and Klee. Stenersen’s donation also includes important works by members of the Danish-continental CoBrA Group and Victor Vasarely. Works from the Stenensen Collection are presented here in the context of the museum’s wider holdings of modern art.

The exhibition also includes several deposited works from the Canica Collection, which augment the presentation of art from Scandinavia’s interwar era and the CoBrA Group.