Europa Nostra, the European heritage organisation has placed a building housing murals by Pablo Picasso on their under threat priority list. The works of art were created in colaboration with the Norwegian sculptor Carl Nesjar, and made by carving and sandblasting the concrete then staining to further enhance the line. The 1969 brutalist buildings that contain the murals were caught in the car bomb planted by the white supremacist Anders Breivik in Oslo in 2011. The Norwegian Government now want to level the buildings to make way for a new complex of government offices.
Designed by Norwegian architect Erling Viskjø in 1969, a panel of experts have been consulted about removing the murals and reinstating them in a new complex, however art experts have shown their concerns stating that the murals were designed by Picasso for those site-specific buildings and they should remain in-situ. The rights to the murals are owned by the Picasso family foundation and they must be consulted about their future.
Claudia Andrieu, a legal expert with the Picasso Administration, said they have not been approached but are “open to dialogue”. The murals represent Picasso’s first attempts at this type of public art. Both structures were damaged when Breivik set off a van bomb at the foot of H block in July 2011, killing eight people. It was the beginning of a rampage that left 77 dead, mostly young people on the island of Utoeya.
A poll by Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang showed public opinion was divided, with 39.5% supporting demolition, while 34.3% thought the buildings should be preserved.