Neighbours and fellow artists of Norwegian Bjarne Melgaard keep trying to halt construction of his controversial studio and residential property at Ekely in Oslo. Now they’re filing protests with Norway’s national historic preservation agency, Riksantikvaren, to protect their area from Melgaard’s encroachment.
The protests began not long after Melgaard unveiled his project, called A House to Die In. It was initially rejected but local authorities later relented and that’s infuriated his neighbours.
They’re upset that construction is to be allowed in what’s been a preservation area for years, and located near where Edvard Munch had his home and studio. Kirsti Grotmol, who lives in the artists’ colony at Ekely, would be Melgaard’s nearest neighbour. She and more than 40 other residents say they’re standing together to protest the exception made for Melgaard.
“This landscape is also part of the legacy left by Munch,” she told newspaper Dagsavisen. “That’s why it’s been protected. It was a landscape Munch often painted.” She said the neighbours’ protests were also a matter of principle: “Preservation orders aren’t supposed to be something you can just violate. We must be able to rely on the orders being held.”
The neighbours have sent in their written complaint. Artist Per Maning and author Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen have also protested, while the head of Oslo’s city preservation agency calls Melgaard’s project “an exciting combination of art and residence.”