Director of KORO/Public Art Norway Svein Bjørkås announced recently the jury’s evaluation of submissions and final decision in the closed competition July 22 Memorial sites. The jury’s decision was unanimous, voting Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg as winner of the competition.
Dahlberg’s concept takes the site at Sørbråten as its point of departure. Here he proposes a wound or a cut within the landscape itself to recreate the physical experience of something being taken away, and to reflect the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died on Utøya. The cut will be a three-and-a-half-metre wide excavation running from the top of the headland at the Sørbråten site to below the waterline and extending to each side. This gap in the landscape will make it impossible to reach the end of the headland.
The material excavated from the cut at Sørbråten will be used to build the foundation for the temporary memorial at the Government Quarter in Oslo, and will also subsequently serve as the foundation for the permanent memorial there.
From the Jury’s evaluation of Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal:
Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal takes the emptiness and traces of the tragic events of 22 July as its starting point. His suggestion for the Sørbråten site is to make a physical incision into the landscape, which can be seen as a symbolic wound. Part of the headland will be removed and visitors will not be able to touch the names of those killed, as these will be engraved into the wall on the other side of the slice out of nature.
The void that is created evokes the sense of sudden loss combined with the long-term missing and remembrance of those who perished.
Dahlberg has proposed to move the landmass taken out of the rocky landscape at Sørbråten to the permanent and temporary memorial site in the Government Quarter in Oslo. By using this landmass to create a temporary memorial pathway between Grubbegata and the Deichmanske Library, a connection is forged between the memorial sites at Sørbråten and the Government Quarter. The names of those killed will be recorded on a wall that runs alongside the pathway.
The proposed permanent memorial site in Oslo takes the form of an amphitheatre around Høyblokka. Dahlberg also proposes to use trees taken from Sørbråten in this urban environment to maintain the relationship between the memorial sites in the capital and to the victims of the atrocities at Utøya.
The Jury considers Dahlberg’s proposal for Sørbråten as artistically highly original and interesting. It is capable of conveying and confronting the trauma and loss that the 22 July events resulted in in a daring way. The proposal is radical and brave, and evokes the tragic events in a physical and direct manner.
Jørn Mortensen – artistic consultant / Chair of the Committee
Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk – artistic consultant KORO
John Hestnes – representative from the National Support Group for the victims of the 22 July attacks.
Mari Aaby West – representative from AUF (the Norwegian Labour Party Youth League)
Bente Erichsen – Government representative
Magne Magler Wiggen – architect appointed by KORO
Jo Ulltveit-Moe – Statsbygg representative
Jonas Dahlbergs practice has been described as an exploration of the relationship between physical and psychological spaces. The works often take architecture, the street or interiors as their point of departure, but are more concerned with internal rather than external landscapes.
IMAGE CREDIT | copyright Jonas Dahlberg Studio, courtesy of KORO / Public Art Norway