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twenty years. Six billion crowns. And somewhere between the 12th-century Baldisholteppet cultural treasure and a large pile of horse excrement scattered on the floor on the third floor, we find the essence of the spirit of the Norwegian people.
Yes, I have visited the National Museum. I went from room to room in this wonderful building and got a distilled picture of Norwegian cultural history. And as I walked there and looked at this great nation-project, at this gigantic establishment of who we are and what we were, it amazed me: Oh my God, what a bunch of nice bastards we’ve become.
I have to, of course Dig into this statement, but first, a little history: The National Gallery was created as a nation-building initiative. We were economically and culturally poor louse with no education when the German Parliament granted a thousand a special offer to purchase artworks in 1837. But we were like Nøkken with Theodor Kittelsen, the nationalist feeling that woke up at the surface, it just had to rise and fall into the light through art, literature and music. We learned this in school, you!
But there was a bad space in the National Gallery. In 1990 the more modern art moved, from 1945 onwards, to the Old Norges Bank. So it so happened that the National Gallery was a canonical old time, while contemporary art was pushed into the brothel, and I was asked, as a twelve-year-old, how much it would cost to see Ilya Kabakov.
In 2002, it was decided to merge the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Norwegian Museum of Architecture, the Museum of Industrial Art and the National Collections into one large institution, the National Museum.
then followed Twenty years of arguing and sewing. First, they quarrel internally in the National Museum with the directors and with each other. Then they quarreled abroad, and each director at some point was declared incompetent. They then argued over where the new museum should be located, before Oslo city councilor Erling Lai and then Culture Minister Trond Geske exchanged horses to Westbahnen in 2008. After that, a seamstress has been around the building for 12 years.
Growing up in Oslo a life surrounded by exotic architectural choices. I once had a teacher who, every time he took us for a ride around town, would point out buildings he didn’t like and say: Ugly.
This has always been the Norwegian debate on new architecture.
but I think The new National Museum is beautiful. A mountain wall facing the sea. Oslo doesn’t need a coffee distillery on every street corner, we need iconic buildings and this home is a national treasure that everyone can see.
And here we are in the corridors of the National Museum. Room by room with Norwegian (and some international) art. 6500 works on display, 400,000 objects in total.
The magnificent Baldisholteppet, formerly in an art industry museum most people have forgotten exists, is now visible to all. It’s also contemporary art, formerly stored in the Kvadraturen, the somewhat boring royal clothing collection, Tina Buddeberg’s “Jordnært” horse work, It’s Harriet Backer, Maret Anne Sara’s blanket of dead shot reindeer skulls, the first Norwegian multimedia artwork of Irma Salo Jaeger and Gunnar Berg and Jean-Eric Fuld.
It’s a beautiful adventure room with ‘Nøkken’, the architectural exhibits with Sverre Fehn and Arne Korsmo, it’s ‘Winter Night in Rondane’ and it’s Munch Room very similar to what was in the old National Gallery. It’s a Norwegian cultural history, and it’s so massive, so overwhelming, that I almost have to say the same thing I said when Munch opened a few months ago: Faye Soren, how lucky we are to have the opportunity to experience this.
It is a house where you can wander for hours.
But that’s for sure Usually norwegian moan. Instead of embracing the whole, he plays with the details, as if we were some spoiled kids unhappy with being served peas with sausage. In the museum we have drawings of Besta, of a dwarf, of old women with their heads under their arms. It is really strange that we don’t have a painting of the particular Norwegian phenomenon of “the never satisfied one”.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m for criticism. What creates debate, what makes us better, what moves us forward. But sometimes it’s just swiping, just stitching and punching in little things. When it comes to the National Museum, absolutely everything has been reviewed, even the press photos.
Of course, much of the criticism was justified. But nevertheless: what makes the spirit of the Norwegian people so completely incapable of stopping, enjoying and sometimes only declaring something absolutely wonderful?
It’s time to end the sewing party now.
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