- Follow-up: Y-block protest, Oslo
On Monday 9 February 2015, almost 350 people gathered together to say no to the government’s plan to demolish Y-block, in Oslo as a result of the damage suffered by the 2011 terrorist attack. This Brutalist building was designed by Norwegian architect Erling Viksjø (1968) as part of the Norwegian government buildings, and has an iconic Y-shape floor plan featuring “The Fishermen” (1970) by Pablo Picasso (1970) painted on one of the walls by artist Carl Nesjar.
The protest was not only to save an iconic building and fine artwork, but also Oslo’s urban planning history and civic life.
Five people gave speeches during the demonstration, including Espen Viksjø, architect and nephew of Erling Viksjø; Hugo Lauritz Jenssen, who wrote a book about H-block, another part of the government buildings (also by Viksjø, 1959) and artist, Janine Magellsen. Politician, Ola Elvestuen claimed that there is still a chance to protect Y-Block, something also hoped by Ola Fjeldheim from the Ancient Monuments Society (Fortidsminneforingen), very interested in preserving the block. This building – the consummate in immobile art – has therefore got people moving.
The initiative was cheered by the sun shining on Picasso’s wall art, as well as by dancer Runa Rebne and by one of Norway’s favourite singers, Lars-Lillo Sternberg, proving its power to bring people together and its social influence.
But now isn’t the time to stop, although the media is now starting to realise the serious risk Y-Block is running – thanks to the public protest. Livegreenblog will keep our readers informed through our Norwegian friends, and we’d like to extend a special thanks to Hanne Sophie Claussen and photographer Jonas Adolfsen.
Oslo, 9 February 2015
Photography: Courtesy of Jonas Adolfsen