“Liberté”

Lars Ø. Ramberg (NO)

Liberté is an installation consisting of three French automated public toilets painted in the colours of the “tricolour” flag: red, white, and blue. A sign mounted on the roof of each toilet bears one of the words from the motto of the French Revolution: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (“Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood”). The installation encourages viewers to reflect on topics that are relevant to society today: national identity, independence, democracy, and public authority.


Show on map
Lukk kartet
Finn veien

Finn veien til “Li­ber­té”

eller
Finn stedet der du er nå
Velg transporttype:
Avbryt
  • .
  • Liberté, Lars Ø. Ramberg. Photographer: Hallstein Guttu
  • Liberté, Lars Ø. Ramberg. Photographer: Hallstein Guttu
  • Liberté, Lars Ø. Ramberg. Photographer: Hallstein Guttu
Click to zoom

About the project

About the project

“Liberté”

About the project

The three toilets are authentic French automated public toilets dating from 1979, designed by JCDecaux and adapted for the purposes of Ramberg’s installation. Sound systems installed inside the toilets play recordings of speeches from World War II by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and King Haakon. These recordings are intended to encourage the toilet user to consider the Norwegian constitution in the context of its French and American forebears. The installation also invites reflection on the significance of fundamental democratic rights for individuals and groups in our society today.

One might ask what a toilet has to do freedom, equality and brotherhood. In fact, there is, among other things, a historical reference: one of the revolutionaries’ proposals during the French Revolution was to provide their fellow citizens with public toilets. The ability to perform bodily functions in privacy is also important for maintaining personal security and human dignity.

Liberté lacked a site for nearly ten years, during which time it was the subject of much debate in the Norwegian media. Ramberg originally proposed the installation in response to a competition held in connection with the opening of the new National Political Centre at Eidsvoll, which coincided with the centenary in 2005 of the ending of the Union between Norway and Sweden. Although Liberté was never installed at Eidsvoll, in connection with the centenary in 2014 of the adoption of the Norwegian Constitution, Liberté has now been installed in the public square known as Eidsvolls Plass, which is adjacent to the parliament building in Oslo.

Finding a site for Liberté has been a long and tortuous process, and opinions about the installation have gradually become an integral part of the work itself.

2003: Ramberg submits his proposal for Liberté in response to a competition held in connection with the opening of the new National Politics Centre at Eidsvoll, which coincides with the centenary in 2005 of the ending of the Union between Norway and Sweden. For various reasons, the work is never completed.

2005: The National Museum purchases Liberté in connection with its exhibition Kyss frosken! [English: Kiss the frog!], but reneges on the purchase due to uncertainties relating to a change of director.

2006: Liberté is installed at the Venice Biennale as part of the exhibition Welfare Farewell. The attention the work attracts helps confirm its international status.

2008: KORO approves installation of Liberté in principle and starts work to secure a suitable site. KORO applies to the administration of the Norwegian parliament for permission to install the work temporarily at Eidsvolls Plass. The application is rejected for safety reasons due to the weight of the work.

2014: Oslo City Council approves the installation of Liberté in central Oslo. The work is installed in the newly refurbished Eidsvolls Plass by the Oslo’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and Agency for Urban Development in collaboration with KORO.

Facts

Facts

Address

Eidsvolls plass

Date completed

14.05.2014

Producer

KORO (URO)
Oslo kommune

Project partner

Kulturetaten
Bymiljøetaten
JCDecaux
MMW arkitekter

Producer (URO)

Bo Krister Wallström

Accessibility

Ja

Program

Art scheme for outdoor public spaces (URO)

Share this project