Independent, uncomfortable art in Jordbro: “Just as art should be”

They made seat cushions for the whole square, they built a scene, they created a large luminous nose and embroidered the names of the activities of the Cultural Centre on the dress they had sewn. Finally, it was time for Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister of Culture and Democracy, to press the button: “What a giant nose.”

“The Cultural Centre right in front of your nose” is a collaboration between British muf architecture/art and local associations from the Jordbro Cultural Centre, as part of the Public Art Agency Sweden’s initiative Art is Happening.

In Jordbro many new buildings are under construction and there are plans for constructing a new cultural centre, which has become a central theme for the art project.

— Jordbro Cultural Centre has raised the question of how existing cultural and social values can be made visible and fostered in a time of large-scale construction projects and expansive urban development. How do we ensure that places of cultural production and local involvement are not removed in the process? asks Joanna Zawieja, architect at the Public Art Agency Sweden for the Art is Happening project in Jordbro.

In collaboration with muf architecture/art, local associations have developed an artistic programme comprising art installations and a festival that will present some activities in Jordbro.

— From the beginning we planned to make the activities in the building visible for the residents. This is why we are moving the activities out of the building, says Justina Meyer, who works at the Blå vägen association, one of the main actors in Art is Happening in Jordbro.

The Public Art Agency Sweden invited muf architecture/art to participate in the art project, as they have long experience in working with everything from small grassroots projects to major urban transformations in projects that often start in smaller interventions with the aim of commenting on or initiating larger processes.

— The organic everydayness of a place such as the Jordbro Cultural Centre is a valuable resource to be understood, celebrated and expanded, says Liza Fior, muf architecture/art.

The large, luminous nose has been designed by muf.

— We wanted to highlight what is right under your nose and that you can’t see because you are too busy looking for something new, explains Liza Fior.

The nose was installed in front of the Cultural Centre on a lamp post that had been out of order for several years. At the inauguration on 19 September, it was lit by Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister of Culture and Democracy.

— What a giant nose. It is clear that you are independent and dare to be uncomfortable, and this is a ‘nose’ that does not always fit in perfectly, which is just as art should be, says Alice Bah Kuhnke.

The associations Jordbro World Orchestra and Blå vägen have been strong driving forces in the project and the commitment of the local associations has opened up for a new type of cooperation.

— In the past we sometimes talked over lunch, and now we have learned to know each other. I definitely think we can work together to maintain the vitality of the place in the future, says Justina Meyer of Blå vägen.

The project forms part of the Public Art Agency Sweden’s initiative Art is Happening taking place in 15 different locations throughout Sweden.

Art Is Happening


2016-2018 Public Art Agency Sweden will focus on public art in late modernist dwelling area, built 1965-1974. A part of the governments Taking place-project.