Saturday, 5 May 2012


Munch, on the experience that lead him to paint The Scream (Shrik, which he originally titled Der Schrei der Natur, 'The Cry of Nature'): I was walking along a path with two friends — the sun was setting — suddenly the sky turned blood red — I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature. [Munch's Diary, 22 January 1892].

Two things: One: why do we in England call this artwork 'the Scream', when 'Shriek' is both perfectly idiomatic and appropriate? Two: are we to take Munch's 'infinite scream passing through nature' as volitional? Is it the scream of something, or somebody? Or is it, rather, the friction of a cosmic motion, the expansion of everything tearing against the underlying fabric? I prefer this latter niotion, as more sciencefictional.

No comments: