Comparing Munch and Mapplethorpe reveals several interesting similarities. Particularly interesting is their widespread use of traditional genres, primarily portraits and nudes. Another similarity is their self-understanding as artists and in the way they both caused a scandal with their art. Both were members of a bohemian subculture of artists that defied the establishment of their era.
In the exhibition you will see a series of self-portraits that shows how both Munch and Mapplethorpe experimented extensively with their own identity as artists. Both artists portray themselves at existential extremes: as can be seen in Munch's self-portrait photographs from the beginning of the century, and Mapplethorpe's early Polaroids in which he explores his own sexuality in front of the camera. Here the two artists meet in the same medium.
Another fascinating highlight from the exhibition is that both artists explored the topics of masculinity, sexuality and gender. The connections that can be drawn here are ambiguous and fascinating. Like Munch, Mapplethorpe worked extensively with female nudes, most prominently in a series of photographs from the early 1980s of Lisa Lyon, a pioneer in female body building. Here he turns stereotypes about the female body on their head. The many portraits in the exhibition prove both artists' mettle as outstanding portrait artists.