Art at the Museum Square

Artists: Mats Olofgörs, Torbjörn Johansson. Title: ‘Reflexions’ 2010. Art consultant: Leiken Vik.

Swedish artists Mats Olofgörs and Torbjörn Johansson won a closed competition for the commission of this monument to celebrate the 250th anniversary of The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) in 2010. ‘Reflexions’ is reminiscent of an ancient Greek or Roman temple, and as well as its classical shape it has also borrowed its function from Greek and Roman tradition. The artwork in the park is, with benches in-between its columns, intended as a space for thought, reflection and conversation. Whereas the shape is based on ancient architectural, religious, scientific and intellectual tradition, the execution of ‘Reflexions’ is very modern. Shiny mirror-like steel has replaced marble as the building material. Thus, the artwork represents a large time span and suggests the scientific history that DKNVS and today’s university are part of stretches far back in time, with clear references to the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century. ‘Reflexions’ mirrors the surrounding trees, shrubs, skies and buildings, and becomes an integrated part of the park and the local scholarly environment. At night ‘Reflexions’ is lit up in a spectrum of colours that are determined by weather data from 1762, collected and registered by the town’s “jack of all trades”, Johan Daniel Berlin. The monumental sculpture contains instruments that continuously register the air temperature and compare it to Berlin’s data from the corresponding date in 1762. The difference between the two measured temperatures is then translated into a code, which determines the colour of the lights as it gets dark. Red signifies the current temperature is warmer than it was on the same date in 1762, blue means it is lower, and a white light tells us the temperature was the same in the past as it is in the present. The open circular ceiling makes it possible to observe the sky, the clouds and the stars without being blended by the lights – a feature giving off strong associations to the Pantheon in Rome. From a distance, the monument appears as a lantern in the park after dark, making it a perfect meeting place.