Glimmer of hope for Picasso-clad Oslo building doomed for demolition
By Anxo Lamela
Copenhagen, Jun 22 (efe-epa).- There has been a glimmer of hope for an Oslo building decorated with murals by Pablo Picasso which was doomed for demolition after years of resistance from pressure groups.
Dubbed the Y-Block, the 51-year-old government building in the Norwegian capital which was the target of a terror attack in 2011 and was due to be completely demolished by the end of the year in a controversial plan.
Authorities have begun to empty the interior and are planning to remove two of the five murals sandblasted into the modernist building’s walls designed by the Spanish artist.
The Fisherman is a huge relief and covers the building’s facade facing the busy street of Akersgata and The Seagull, a smaller work, is located in the lobby.
Both are examples of Picasso’s first monumental murals created in collaboration with Norwegian painter Carl Nesjar.
Ellen De Vibe, former director of urban planning in Oslo between 1998 to 2019, tells Efe: “The murals are integrated into the building, they are an architectural unit.
“It is the whole that constitutes the work of art, removing them and hanging them elsewhere would destroy it.”
De Vibe took part in protests which started in 2014 to save the building, spearheaded by a support group to save Y-Block.
Y-Block was built in 1969 by Erling Viksjø and has great architectural value as well as being a symbol for the Norwegian welfare state, according to De Vibe.