oslo // day 2

Today I’m off for some more museum hopping! My first stop is the National Gallery. It’s the perfect size, neither too large nor too small. On the ground floor I see an exhibit of paintings called ‘The Magic North: Finnish and Norwegian Art Around 1900’. The upper level has a full room dedicated to paintings by Munch, including his world-famous The Scream, Madonna, and his lesser known The Sick Child (perhaps my personal favorite).

The Museum of Contemporary Art has a fantastic exhibit on Arte Povera, which is very dear to me since I studied it in high school (how could I forget Guiseppe Penone’s works with trees?). The exhibition is cleverly titled ‘Poor Art, Rich Legacy’. The artists on display include Giovanni Anselmo, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Guiseppe Penone, Gilberto Zorio and Mario Merz. There is also a collection of works by Louise Bourgeois, amongst which her Celle VIII (1998), the sculptures Quarantania (1947–53) and Fée Couturière (1963). I recognize Bourgeois’ bittersweet print series He Disappeared into Complete Silence, which I had already seen and loved at the Tate Modern in London.

Located just across the street, the Museum of Architecture is also worth visiting. I really enjoy the exhibit ‘Forms of Freedom. Legacies of African Modernism’, which shares some of the major architectural projects undergone by Norway and other Scandinavian countries in certain African states. The gallery includes great video documentaries (which I’m currently attempting to find online) explaining the reasons for the projects’ ultimate demise and failure. The following quote I found on the NationalMuseet website is particularly evocative: “Traces of the modernist dream have in many places been erased or worn down by decay, in others restored or renewed. They stand as ambivalent temporal signals, pointing forward but also to promises of progress that appear blocked, utopic or obsolete, or which must instead be preserved and reactivated. In the past decade, this older strata of the landscape has, across Africa, been modulated by a renewed wave of construction and design and its aesthetic of promise that is seductive but also illusory even obscene.”

After this, I enter the Film Museum, a small but informative space focused on the history of movie-making and the Swedish film industry. Its section on censorship is particularly interesting. The museum really makes me want to watch more Scandinavian films, because apart from Let the Right One In, Melancholia and the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation, I don’t think I’ve seen any others!

The last museum I see for today is that of Decorative Arts and Design. I’ve very inspired by a temporary exhibit entitled ‘The Needle’s Eye - Contemporary Embroidery’ (again, I manage to sneakily take some unauthorized photos...). And because I can never grow tired of seeing furniture pieces, I also spend some time in the permanent galleries upstairs.

Afterward I check out Mathallen, Oslo’s equivalent of Torvehallerne. As is everything else in the city, the products and dishes are all ridiculously expensive, so it’s more of a feast for the eyes. But if you’re feeling splurgy (or have loads to spend, who knows), I hear the pies from Hello Good Pie are to die for.

If you’re ever looking for food or coffee in Grünerløkka, there are many great places to choose from. I recommend the super fun Retrolykke Kafebar (also great for just shopping), Liebling (a Berlin-style coffee shop, also good for shopping) and Chillout Travel Centre. Also, there’s a great vintage store called Robot. I’ve never seen so many fanny packs together in my life. Solid collection of jean overalls and flannel shirts, too!

I, on the other hand, eat my takeout dinner on a bench in the middle of Olaf Ryes Place, which is a square surrounded by boutiques and restaurants with terraces. It’s a really nice place to have a beer, hang out with friends and enjoy the later sunset.

You Might Also Like