The Art Programme is run by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, which is responsible for collecting and coordinating production of professional art in Oslo’s public spaces. An art committee has been appointed for the project, consisting of representatives of the architect, the developer, the Munch Museum and an external curator.
The new Munch Museum and the adjacent Museum Island will be situated in the central part of the Harbour Promenade, which stretches nine kilometres along Oslo’s waterfront. The Museum Island will be rebuilt re-constructing the historical river mouth of the Akerselva river while being accessible from landside by a bridge that will connect the Harbour Promenade with the Museum Island. The Museum Island offers long sightlines, allowing the commissioned work to be seen against the fjord as well as the neighbouring buildings.
The aim of the art commission at the Museum Island is to provide a contemporary frame for the work of Norway’s most famous painter whose collected works will be housed in the new monographic museum. The experience of the artwork should chime with the oeuvre of Munch, not in any illustrative way, but maybe by subtly relating to its essence or spirit. In other words, the commission should not act as a direct portrait or a literal homage, but rather be an attempt at imaginative and free-wheeling responses to Munch’s work.
The Jury was greatly impressed by the strong artistic calibre of the seven proposals and found it hard to choose between them during two days of discussion. All proposals presented a high level of artistic integrity and attempted in different and innovative ways to relate to Munch’s oeuvre and show his ongoing relevance. The artists demonstrated in their proposals how contemporary art can contribute to bring profound experiences to a broad audience in this very important new part of Oslo Harbour.