August Strindberg: Painter, Photographer, Writer
Tate Modern: Exhibition
17 February 15 May 2005

I am everywhere, in the ocean which is my blood, in the hills which are my bones

August Strindberg, The Wave VII

August Strindberg
The Wave VII, (Vågen II) 1901

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

August Strindberg (1849-1912) is known as a prolific writer of novels and plays but he was also an extremely radical painter for his time. This is the first major UK exhibition to explore largely unseen paintings and photographs by this extraordinarily gifted man.

Strindberg turned to painting in times of upheaval in his personal life or when his capacity as a writer failed him. He saw the arresting landscape outside his native Stockholm as a metaphor for his inner turmoil and painted the waves, rocks and ever-changing skies in a vast array of compositions, colour palettes and moods. Although landscapes in subject matter, these works can also be seen as symbolic self-portraits offering an illuminating insight into the mind of this often-troubled genius.

Strindberg believed that chance played a vital role in the creative process and explored this concept in his painting, photography and artistic writings. This was an individual and radical approach for the time but later became central to the theory of major artistic movements such as Surrealism and Expressionism. For this reason Strindberg’s paintings were included in the seminal Sources of the Twentieth Century exhibition held in Paris in 1959.

This ground-breaking exhibition includes over sixty paintings as well as thirty of his pioneering photographs. It is also a rare opportunity to see his illustrated manuscripts, drawings and sculptures.