Art at Åsveien School

Artists: Kristoffer Myskja. Title: ‘Ut’ 2015 Erlend Leirdal. Title: …. 2016. Art consultants: Ingun Myrstad, Paul Brand.
On a steep hill in the large slanted schoolyard, ten steel masts shoot up in the air. This is an artwork by Kristoffer Myskja, who from the very beginning of his artistic career has become renowned for his mechanical, dynamic installations. The work ‘Ut’ also features mechanics and movement. Within an exterior of welded steel tubes, screws and springs, there are ball bearings, shackles and chains that contribute to the masts’ relentless unrest.  On top of the masts are objects that look like weathervanes. However, unlike the traditional contraption, Myskja’s “weathervanes” do not move in tandem along with the wind. Instead, they are performing individual dance routines. Their “heads” turn to the right and to the left, up and down, in a calm, gentle rhythm in the artist’s quiet choreography. The stronger the wind, the more exaggerated the moves become, and they may transcend into an intense and wild dance. There is something humane about this installation – the young artist’s message might be one about independence, believing in one’s abilities. The school shapes the pupils, but at the same time it gives them the opportunity to choose their own future, be it at the same pace as others or not. The masts in ‘Ut’ appear to have a will and self-awareness of their own.
With his artworks in wood, Erlend Leirdal has made his mark on a number of buildings around Norway, including a few in his hometown of Trondheim. At Åsveien his artistic presence is clearly felt, through three sculptures made from massive oak. The largest of the three is placed outside the main entrance, the second one in the vestibule within, and the third one is in the school’s special education department for autistic children. The sculptures are very similar in style, with straight, clean lines and elements joined at straight angles. Their construction is reminiscent of cobwork and traditional building techniques. The sculptures hint at a larger construction. This is most evident in the large outdoor sculpture, raising to the skies, whereas the two indoor ones are more horizontal of appearance. The surfaces of the solid woodworks are plane and smooth. They feel nice to touch, and are inviting to be explored further, to be sat or climbed on. Part of the artist’s intention for these sculptures is for them to be used as physical objects. They are designed for durability, just as the untreated oak will withstand wind and weather, wear and tear.
In the premises of the autism learning centre, acquired paintings by Andreas Widerøe Hagen make quite an impact. Hagen was himself a pupil at the centre and with his bold, colourful presence – and his successful career –, he sends out positive signals of a bright future for all.
Åsveien is already managing a large, impressive art collection. One of the school’s former principals, Emil Herje, established the collection, which has been developed and expanded through many years, partly through gifts from former pupil Per Høiem, gallery owner at Galleri Ismene. In the new school complex built in 2014, the collection has been displayed in more accessible locations than before, with a theme for each wall.