UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Campus Tromsø, Medicine and Health Studies Building, 1997

Søren Ubisch takes the concept of an integrated artwork to a new dimension with his gigantic ceramic installation at the Medicine and Health Studies Building at UiT.


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  • (bridge between MH-bygget and UNN), Dag Skedsmo. Photographer: KORO
  • Farao Sesostris I.s tempel, Jenny-Marie Johnsen. Photographer: KORO
  • Farao Sesostris I.s tempel, Jenny-Marie Johnsen. Photographer: KORO
  • Farao Sesostris I.s tempel (book), Jenny-Marie Johnsen. Photographer: KORO
  • (tile floor) and (wall mosaic), Søren Ubisch. Photographer: KORO
  • (tile floor) and (wall mosaic), Søren Ubisch. Photographer: KORO
  • Detail of wall mosaic, Søren Ubisch. Photographer: KORO
  • Detail of wall mosaic, Søren Ubisch. Photographer: KORO
  • (black and red book), Søren Ubisch.
  • Detail of (black and red book), Søren Ubisch. Photographer: KORO
  • Waves, Harald Oredam. Photographer: KORO
  • (tile floor), Søren Ubisch. Photographer: Kjell Ove Storvik
  • Corona borealis and (tile floor), Ellen Lenvik, Søren Ubisch. Photographer: KORO
  • (no title), Jennifer Lloyd. Photographer: KORO
  • (stairwell), Dag Skedsmo. Photographer: Kjell Ove Storvik
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About the project

About the project

The Medicine and Health Studies Building was completed in 1991. It is located in the northern part of Campus Tromsø and is linked to the regional hospital that was built at the same time. Like many of the other buildings at Campus Tromsø, both buildings are clad in brick.

The first artwork we encounter at the building is integrated into the exterior of the three-storey overhead walkway linking the Faculty of Health Sciences to the hospital: the brick façade of the walkway is broken up by patterns designed by the Norwegian artist Dag Skedsmo (born 1951). Skedsmo has completed a number of public art projects and is interested particularly in optical phenomena and geometric shapes. The pattern he has created for the Medicine and Health Studies Building combines bricks of two different colours: the reddish bricks used for the faculty building and the yellow bricks used for the hospital.

The interior of the building is divided by a spacious indoor walkway under a sloping glass roof. It is here that we find that largest integrated art project at UiT: a massive ceramic wall and floor installation created by the ceramicist Søren Ubisch (born 1952). Ubisch has been responsible for some of the largest integrated public artworks in Norway. He has designed the façade for Trøndelag Theatre (1996), the paving for the inner courtyard at Domus Academica at the University of Oslo, and, in collaboration with Guttorm Guttormsgaard, the ceramic façade of Oslo Spektrum.

Ubisch’s gigantic floor installation at UiT extends from the main entrance on the south side of the building, where uniform rows of black matte and polished tiles are interrupted by tiles glazed in pink, white and blue, into the glass-roofed walkway. Here the enormous floor surface is divided into eight rectangular fields that may remind the viewer of geometrically-patterned woven carpets. A couple of the fields are reminiscent of Op Art paintings, to reflect over the ways in which the eyes let themselves be deceived. In the auditorium wing the walls are covered with tiles laid in geometric patterns, forming a stark contrast with the soft woven Sami rugs on one of the other walls. Two clay shapes that repeat the pattern of the floor “grow from” the ground. They function as a room divider, and resemble upended books resting on their covers.

Jenny-Marie Johnsen (born 1960) has contributed an artwork that reproduces a detail from a column in the 4000-year-old Ancient Egyptian temple of Pharaoh Senusret I. The detail was photographed and enlarged by Johnsen. The motif was not selected at random, but was carefully chosen for a building dedicated to medicine and health sciences: it shows the Pharaoh receiving the gift of the hieroglyphic symbol for “life”. This sign for female fertility was particularly important in Ancient Egyptian religion. Johnsen has also made an artist’s book to accompany the artwork. Her book rests on a soapstone plinth in front of the image, like the table in the temple, and contains more information about the temple and the story of Senusret I.

Facts

Facts

Address

Hansine Hansens veg, Tromsø

Date completed

01.01.1997

Project manager

Egil Sinding-Larsen

Art consultant/Art Committee

Per Kleiva
Hilde Hauan Johnsen
Oddvar Løkse
Geir Stormoen

Architect

Borealis Arkitekter as
J.Kristoffersen Arkitektkontor

Building owner/developer

Statsbygg

Duration

Permanent

Accessibility

Tilgjengelig for publikum

Program

Art scheme for new government-owned buildings

Kunstverk

Kunstverk

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