House: Leif Grung (1921): Villa d’Este, Italia – Sketch
Music: Hercules & Love Affair: I Try To Talk To You’ (feat. John Grant / Seth Troxler Extended NYC Mix) /
Concept: Nicholas Møllerhaug
Archive material published with permission from Leif Grung’s family
Walker Evans: Subway Photographs 1938-1941
Every summer his world came to our tiny village. The Grinde Valley was filled with the sounds of New York City. Then Gunnar came home for a few months; this flamboyant latino good looking old gentleman. Originally he was a manifacturer from Haugesund – the herring fisher town some miles from our village. During the war he made his move to the Big Apple. Gunnar Jondal was his full name but the villagers called him only The American – or simply “Amrikanaren”.
He arrived with suitcases filled up with Wrigleys Chewing gum and small toys for us kids – and Pall Mall’s boxes for his older comrades. He always weared white suites and talked with a tremendous loud voice filled with NYCslang. He even made long baths in the river of Grinde; filled it with bathing foam.
Walker Evans: Subway Photographs 1938-1941
I’ve always been fascinated by him. He died in his late 70s by cancer – in the mid-nineties. I tried for a while finding his children but gave up. It seemed that this old world of Gunnar was long gone. Till last week. Last week this world came back to me – here in Berlin. A marvellous exhibition at Gropius Bau: a large photo exhibition of Walker Evans. An deeply moving photographic tour to the most intime parts of US – and Gunnar’s world.
It was the very last performance Lorin Mazel was going to give in Berlin. Despite of heavy back pain I took the Ubahn to the great brassy concert hall. Stood all the way from Prenzlauer Berg to Potsdam. And mainly partly-sitting-standing on the galleria of the great concert hall. It was about to be a great happening: Lorin conducting his long-lasting-love Berliner Philarmonics. Then it turned out that he had cancelled. A stand in stood in – the israeli conductor Semyon Buchov. He did a marvellous version of the Schubert 8th Symphony – (The Great). A monumental version – fully in the spirit of the great maestro Mazel. Mazel passed away on July 13th: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/arts/music/lorin-maazel-brilliant-intense-and-enigmatic-conductor-dies-at-84.html?_r=0
Leif Grung dreamed about Italy while studying in Stockholm. This is how his dream looked like. Ca. anno 1919. (A few years later he went to Italy and make some really nice real sketches. But that’s another story.
Bømlo – The island
I went to Cologne the other day. With train. A sudden trip with ICE leaving Berlin extremely early in the morning. It was Øyvind’s – my dear old composer friend – idea. We went to Cologne to see Philippe Huyghe. A marvellous artist i’ve never seen live. I’d hardly seen anything by him. Øyvind had and i knew i had to come along.
Pierre Huyghe: Untitled (2011-2012)
We headed for the Ludwig Museum. Just next to the railway station and the cathedral. The four minutes walk took more than an hour. We arrived in the midst of the Fronahm-feast: the ancient catholic procession party called corpus christi in latin. The Dom Platz was filled with a huge crowd and hundreds of silk banners. So a little late we entered this legendary museum and the exhibtion. I will certainly mention other works later but in this post i’ll tell something personal. In Museum Ludwig I met the spirit of uncle Olaf. My grand uncle Olaf. A silent and wise sheep farmer and wharf worker. A man dressed always in wool. A silent eternal windower living on the island of Bomlo. The west coast of Norway.
In the middle of this huge exhibition (on tour from Pompidou in Paris) (i will write more about it later i think) my thoughts wandered towards Olaf.
You see: he had a wonderful hobby. (No – actually he had two passionate hobbies: singing and) Bees. Millions of bees gathered around in the our ancestral heathens of the valley of Hollund. Carefully he took care of these bees. Annually he made hundred of litres of the most delicious honey. And here in Museum Ludwig i couldn’t stop recalling uncle Olaf who died maybe twenty years ago. I started remembering his silence and the counterpoint between his great personality and his bees.
The reason was the open door in the midst of the videoworks and installations. A door out to the back yard of Museum Ludwig. A shabby tiny garden filled with waste. There a female nude classical style sculpture was exhibited. Her head was covered by bees and hive.
Thousands of silent bees hummed around and gave deep depth to this concrete replica. It reminded me about the majesty of the bees. A wonderful celebration of their fragile existence. And for me a piece that made me think a lot about uncle Olaf and his bees. And silence.
Høyblokka around 1960
Earlier this year I was asked to contribute in a rather special exhibition: Høyblokka Revisited – http://hoyblokkarevisited.wordpress.com/ – It was all about the Government Quarter after the terror acts on July 22nd. I made two sketches. My opinion was – and still is – that music and sound was needed on the memorial site. I suggested a particular melancholic folk song from the Sognefjord. Yesterday I realized Aftenposten (Norway’s largest newspaper) paid positive attention to my idea – http://www.osloby.no/oslopuls/kunst_og_scene/Hoyblokka-revisited—lekent-tenkt-og-tegnet-7519707.html#.U6sZdcaxo49
“Nicholas Møllerhaug ønsker å spille av lyden av et stev i området. Som Erling Viksjø brukte synlige steinpartikler i sin naturbetong, har norske folketoner ofte spor av mange individuelle steder og tradisjoner i seg, påpeker han. Slik skapes en oppfinnsom, lyrisk, parallell til Viksjøs materialbruk.”
Nicholas Møllerhaug: Kvedar/Betong