Opening of Små monumenter
Welcome to the opening of artist Lars Sandås' Små monumenter, an artwork that focuses on the presence and history of the open drug environment in Oslo's urban space. It highlights three specific places that have been central in this context: Eika at Akerselva, Plata at Oslo S and Nisseberget in Slottsparken. An earlier application for erecting a sculpture in memory of the environment that had existed in Slottsparken was rejected by Det Norske Kongehus. For this reason, the monument portraying the police action against the drug milieu on the night before May 1, 1978 will be displayed in front of Kunstnernes Hus.
Små monumenter refers to the jointly owned public space. It calls into question who is being honoured and remembered, and who is forgotten.
The opening is free and open to all.
Introduction: Bo Krister Wallström (KORO - Kunst i offentlige rom)
Speakers: Arild Knudsen (Foreningen for Human Narkotikapolitikk), Mohamed Abdi (writer and columnist for Dagsavisen) and Ruben Steinum (Norske Billedkunstnere)
About the artwork
Små monumenter by Lars Sandås can be seen as a contribution to the less exposed histories of Oslo and aims at redistributing visibility: By illuminating the lives that are lived and lost in the streets of Oslo, the artist's intention is to contribute to a more truthful story about the city and its population.
At Nisseberget, illegal drugs were traded and used from the mid-1960s to 1984. Due to police actions, the environment was forced to move at times. The largest police action in Slottsparken occurred on the night of May 1, 1978, during which the drug trading community received support from what police called far more professional protesters, and riots broke out. As a result, the police went in with tear gas and horses, and a police car was turned over. The demonstrations continued the following day. The sculpture planned for Nisseberget is a miniature of Nisseberget filled with human figures, police cars and horses; a scene based on the riots. Sandås's detailed and painstaking woodcuts have been transferred to a bronze sculpture, which is mounted on a block of diabase.
The sculpture intended for Nisseberget is now placed in front of Kunstnernes Hus. It will remain there until February 2020, and afterwards be moved to the Frederiks gate/Karl Johans gate junction. The other two monuments are located in their respective places; at Eika in Grünerløkka in the form of a bench and on Plata at Oslo S in the form of a stone pedestal.
Små monumenter is funded by KORO (URO). The opening of the project is organised in collaboration with Kunstnernes Hus.
About the artist
Lars Sandås (born in 1984) is a visual artist from Oslo, who graduated from KHiO in 2009. He works with graphics, drawing, painting, sculpture and publications. In much of his work, he addresses social and political issues such as exclusion, division, injustice and violence. Små monumenter is a continuation of Lars Sandås' art book project Narkoatlas - Oslo, which was published in 2016. The book is illustrated with woodcuts and tells the story of Oslo's open drug environment, from its beginning in Slottsparken in 1966 to today.
Photograph: Kim Sølve.