Painting removed for inflaming Breivik trauma

Norway's Ministry of Health has refused to take a new painting for the minister's lobby because staff complained that other paintings in the series reminded them too closely of the 2011 terror attacks.

Painting removed for inflaming Breivik trauma
Excerpt from The Light Disappears - KORO
The first painting, 'The Light Disappears – Just Our Eyes', which hangs in the building's ground floor entrance, features a skeleton and scattered bones, and depicts the government tower that was damaged when far-right terrorist Anders Breivik detonated a bomb underneath it, with papers flying from the windows. 
The Health Ministry's building, situated just behind the main government tower, was so badly hit by Breivik's attack that it remains abandoned more than two years later, and the ministry has now moved to new quarters. 
"Several employees have responded. They say it is reminiscent of 22 July," Bjørn Inge Larsen, Secretary at the Ministry of Health  told NRK. 
As a result, the ministry has refused to take the third painting in the series, which is still being completed by the Norwegian artist Vanessa Baird.  
As a result of the refusal, Koro, the public art organisation which placed the painting, has decided to also remove both the first painting and a second painting, which hangs in the Ministry of Food, which shares the premises, arguing that the three paintings are a single work which should share the same space. 
"I'm flabbergasted. I think it is sheer madness and an abuse of power," Baird told NRK, conceding that it was "sad that many employees feel traumatized". 
She claimed that she had never intended the paintings as a commentary on the 2011 attacks.  
"The papers flying from H-block would just as easily be read as a statement on bureaucracy, not as a representation of the events of 22 July 2011," she said.  
Svein Bjørkås, Koro's director, said he was "very sorry" that the paintings had been rejected. 
"This is high quality work with a great deal of potential for public interest, and our plan now is to have this complete project shown in its right place," he said. "This is the condition for public art everywhere, we can't force artworks into anybody's buildings." 

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Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

READ ALSO: Norway's Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds