An exhibition about Henrik Ibsen as a person, poet and a playwriter. The work also includes the Museum itself with the total renovation of the exhibition-localities with entrance, reception and exhibition spaces.
The exhibition premises I entered at my first visit to the Ibsen Museum were under renovation. Wallpaper, suspended ceilings and an office interior from the 80´s was under demolition.
What was left was a very rough, and stripped appartment structure (from 1900) with dirty wooden walls, flaking stucco and plaster on brick walls and an original floor that had seen some better days, all slanting was it as well, charming enough.
“Coooool” I uttered, allthough I have reached the age of 52… a word not quite up to Ibsen´s literal class.
The intention of the Client had been to change the interior to a clean modern exhibition space. “Wait a moment, isn´t this interior just the very essence of Ibsen´s authorship”? I uttered.
A bourgaois “facade” stripped to the bone without a decorative elements to hide the dark secrets.
I wanted to establish a “win-win” situation… an exciting and untraditional exhibition localities and simultaneously beeing able to interpretate the essence of Ibsens literature by the interior itself.
To complete the win-win situation, this interior was in fact acting as a showcase of buildinghistory, located side by side to Ibsens own apartment, restored authentically to the very panel screw and fabric.
The idea of the museum and exhibition becomes the intervention between the stripped space and the exhibitional effects. All new exhibition interventions are thus beeing kept free from the existing space in order to enhance and underline the partition between the “facade” and “what lies behind”. A new floor floating above the old one, with distance to the old walls is being lit from underneath, creating “ the theater stage” for the master, master Ibsen is staged and simultaneously a space for the practical parts as cables and some showcases is created, once again a win-win situation in the design.
The colours are deep red…. naturally…. being the colour of the theater,and the curtains create the reminiscens.
Each “station” is a theme from Ibsen´s authorship, with their own rolemodel from the plays, and a showcase with Ibsens artifacts that suit each part of the exhibition theme being told.
None of the showcases have visible hinges or locks … the walls are opened.
To enhance Ibsens thematical way of working with his characters…. peeling the characters layerwise as an onion, each station is created with layers. Themetexts are painted right on the old walls, ingress texts on the theater-red stations/elements, and facta texts are silkprinted on glass as a layer in front, and photos behind.
Thus the whole idea and fullfillment of the exhibition is in fact based on Ibsen himself…just as he was sitting behind me whispering in my ear… giving the spirit to the coming generation of enjoyers and perhaps authors……..thank you Henrik.
by Gudmundur Jonsson
Architect: Gudmundur Jonsson Architect
Location: The Ibsen Museum, Norsk Folkemuseum, Henrik Ibsensgate 26, Oslo, Norway