Monday, December 2, 2013

Picasso's Regjeringskvartalet murals

In the late 1950s and the early 1970s the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso designed five murals (The Beach, The Seagull, Satyr and Faun and two versions of The Fisherman) for the Regjeringskvartalet ('Government quarter') buildings in central Oslo, Norway. The designs by Picasso were executed in concrete by Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar, and were Picasso's first attempt at monumental concrete murals. The buildings onto which the murals were executed are known as the 'H-block' or Highrise (1959) and 'Y-block' (1968); they were designed by the Norwegian architect Erling Viksjø The largest mural, The Fisherman (1970) is on the façade of Y-block. Picasso would later create works in a similar vein in Barcelona and Stockholm.

The Regjeringskvartalet complex was badly damaged by a car bomb in the 2011 Norway attacks. The Norwegian government is considering demolishing the buildings, after they were damaged during the bombing, and dismantling and reconstructing the murals.

The director of the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Jørn Holme, has defended the buildings, saying that "We can't demolish the best parts of a cultural era just because we find it ugly today." He stressed that if they were moved they would "no longer be the works Picasso intended". It is the position of the Directorate that the murals be restored and kept in their original site, additionally they declared the buildings were safe to use despite their damage. The Directorate described the complex as a "cornerstone in Norwegian architectural history"

A decision on the fate of the murals is expected in early 2014.

Learn more here, here, and at the original source for this here

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