Norske Svik

Project description
During the night of 4th to 5th October 2005, shortly after the announcement of the closure of the Norske Skog paper mill in Skien, a group of workers climbed onto the factory roof and changed the words on the company’s name board from “Norske Skog” (Norwegian Forest) to “Norske Svik” (Norwegian Betrayal).
By replacing the last three letters of the company’s name, the employees gave clear expression to their feelings at the time. The new sign could be seen from the east side of Skien, but was only allowed to stand for a single night.
I took this illegal action as the starting point for my work at Tempo Skien 2007, an outdoor sculpture festival in Telemark. I reconstructed the sign Norske Svik and sunk it in the water of the harbour in the centre of Skien. On the axis of the papermill at Klosterøya, the sign can look like it has been carried there by the sea, and remaining submerged it will begin to decay during the course of the exhibition, which ends in October 2007.

Union Fargekart
- additional poster work to Norske Svik

Another illegal action was carried out on the last day on which the machines were in use at the Union paper mill in Skien. An employee poured dye into the paper pulp, with the result that the final rolls of paper that were produced came out blue. The paper took on the symbolic colour of Norway’s capitalist conservatives – a clear expression of where the workers felt the value of the paper mill had ended up.
In my poster work, Union Fargekart (Union Colour Chart), on show in a display case down by the harbour, I extrapolated the idea of a “blue” Union by creating a collage from a collection of different Union logos and signs. If we take the colour of the logos as a description of the political content of the word Union, then the poster illustrates how flexible that term can be.

Tempo Skien 2007
Kunstnersenteret i Telemark
Site-specific sculpture show

Review, (Norwegian only)

Installation view, Skien brygge.
Sign made of plaster on iron frame.
1,2 x 10 meter

Norske Svik
C-print 95 x 42 cm

The original altered name board on the wall of Union paper mill.
Photo: Per-Eirik Hekkelstrand

From the process of mounting the Norske Svik sculpture.

Union Fargekart/ Union Colour Chart
- additional poster work to Norske Svik
Colour print 174 x 106 cm

Union Fargekart/ Union Colour Chart
Installation view, Skien brygge.

All text and image © Marte Johnslien
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