May 29, 2023


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He thinks the work will be a hostage

He thinks the work will be a hostage

According to Per-Inge Biorlo, the National Museum has placed its monument “in the belly of a cruise ship with seafood on the menu”.

I feel like I’m in a hostage situation, says artist Per-Inge Biorlo.

Recently, the doors of the new National Museum opened in Westbahnen in Oslo. Here, many of Norway’s art treasures are collected under one roof – including famous works by artists such as Edvard Munch, Erik Wernskiwald and Harriet Bakker.

Here we also find many works by contemporary Norwegian artists, including the installation “Indre Rom V” by Bjørlo, which was purchased by the museum in 1990.

However, in the completely new museum building, this work is located in the same room of the much discussed Frederiksen Collection.

This made Porlo react.

“I feel my art detaches in this place, because I am initially opposed to the ability of private representatives to buy a place in a public museum,” says Björlo, considered one of Norway’s most important living artists.

Criticizes labeling of works

Bjørlo’s work is a stainless steel installation consisting of a staircase that leads up and into a narrow corridor. At the end of this room there is a light source, which together with shiny steel creates strong sensory impressions. Thus “Indre Rom V” is inside a wall, and the only way to enter is through the room that houses Fredriksen’s collection.

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Bjorlo says he’s been in dialogue with the National Gallery along the way about how to build “Indre Rom V” on the museum’s new building.

He is still not satisfied with the final location in the so-called Pilar Room.

“The labeling is so bad, I hope that the museum can at least now ensure that the public has the correct information that my work is not part of the Frederiksen collection, because it is not entirely easy to understand today,” says Björlow.

Decisive factor: Per-Inge Bjorlo is opposed in principle to “the ability of private actors to buy a place in a public museum”. Photo: Thomas Braun, NTB

He says he wrote a poem about the situation the night after his visit to the new National Museum.

Isn’t it an appreciation to be placed next to artists like Georgia O’Keefe and Lee Krasner?

– I have nothing against artists. It is the museum’s collaboration with the Frederiksen family that I interact with, Björlo says.

– I feel very uncomfortable that my artwork is now so close to this collection, because it is a world that I do not belong to.

Not a perfect solution

“I feel very uncomfortable that my artwork is now so close to the Frederiksen Collection, because it is a world that I do not belong to”

By Inji Bjorlo, artist

Stina Högkvist, director of collections at the National Museum, writes in an email to Klassekampen that the museum has always had a dialogue with Bjørlo about the location of “Indre Rom V” in the new museum building – and says the artist himself has been involved in the installation.

Högkvist wrote: “The Column Room gallery design plans were also shown to Bjørlo early in the process, and he approved the design drawings.”

At the same time, she thinks it sad that Porlo feels alienated.

“We understand that placing the work inside Pilar’s room is not an ideal solution for him, and we must see what we can do to make the solution as best as possible for the artist.”

– Do you want to distinguish the work more clearly, so that it becomes clear to the audience that it is not included in the Frederiksen collection?

Högkvist wrote: “We have considered several different solutions, and we will now reconsider some of them and possibly look at new alternatives in the near future.”