Construction crews were proceeding this week with the complicated job of removing two huge sandblasted pieces of Pablo Picasso’s art from the concrete walls of the so-called Y-blokka in Oslo. The Y-shaped building is due to be torn down after it was damaged in a right-wing terrorist’s bombing of Norway’s government complex nine years ago.
The moving project follows lengthy planning for the new complex and legal challenges to the razing of Y-blokka. Protesters finally gave up efforts to save the building, while the foundation overseeing the rights to Picasso’s art has given its approval to remount the art in the new government building planned for the site.
Y-blokka, which housed several government ministries over the years, opened in 1969. It was designed by architect Erling Viksjø, while Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar collaborated with Picasso to sandblast Picasso’s drawings on its walls. The outdoor artwork known as Fiskerne weighs 250 tons including its steel frame, while Måken (The Seagull), mounted on an indoor wall, weighs 60 tons.
Both will be remounted in the new high-rise that will house ministries due to return to the site when construction is finally completed in 2029.