When Birds Fall Silent

Artist Danilo Stankovic’s painting När fåglar tystna (When Birds Fall Silent) is difficult to miss in the new entrance to the A Building. Almost six metres high and four metres wide, it extends up to the ceiling. Details in the magical forest landscape are painted in luminous colours and gleam in the darkness of the night. Stankovic touches upon subjects such as mythology and folklore and has painted on birch plywood as if he were in conversation with the history of the location. The graining gradually emerges in the motif.

The painting När fåglar tystna (When Birds Fall Silent) is located in the new entrance of the A Building. Artist Danilo Stankovic installed the work at the Luleå University of Technology with a carpenter, piece by piece, in seven sections. From the balcony one floor up, visitors can explore parts of the motif close up. The polyporus in the trees. The silhouettes beyond the ravine. A forest landscape condensed by magic and folklore – when darkness falls, the birds become silent and the unknown awakens.

The renovations and extension of the A Building were completed in 2016. Danilo Stankovic painted När fåglar tystna (Silence of the Birds) in oil and fluorescent paint on birch plywood. Details glow and become visible only when darkness has fallen on the city. Luleå University of Technology has some 15,000 students and one ambition was that the artistic intervention in the entrance would open up to the idea of something, unexpected and undiscovered. Something other than exams and study requirements.

När fåglar tystna (Silence of the Birds) is an artistic intervention for the Luleå University of Technology commissioned by Public Art Agency Sweden and owned and managed by Akademiska Hus. The work was inaugurated in September 2016.

About Danilo Stankovic

Danilo Stankovic was born in 1981 in Kalmar. He studied at the Malmö Art Academy. In his art practice, Stankovic is interested in the sublime and ecstatic in our existence. He is influenced by stories from mythology and folk belief and allows these to intersect with popular culture. Stankovic works with painting, but also with collage, video, readymades, and sculpture. His artistic arenas vary, and his artwork feels equally at home in the gallery as at music festivals. When Birds Fall Silent is his first site-specific painting in public space. Danilo Stankovic lives in Malmö.

Curator Kristina Möster Nilsson about When Birds Fall Silent

Danilo Stankovic never paints in front of an audience. The painting When Birds Fall Silent largely came into being in the middle of the night in the monumental workshop KKV in Malmö. Everyone else was sleeping…but not the painting. When the lights are turned out and the darkness of night takes over, its colors come to life. Small glimmers appear. The fungi in the trees glisten and the ravine shimmers a dangerous temptation. Silhouettes on the horizon move in a pilgrimage toward an unclear destination. The landscape condenses and the psychedelic trolls using the forest as a hideout are embraced by darkness.

The current Campus Luleå was once an outlying area covered in birch shoots. The decision to build a university on the outskirts, far from downtown, fully expresses the spirit of 1970s Sweden. University architecture constructed along the main street of campus was characterized by function. The A-building on campus has been rebuilt to meet current standards of educational environments; in connection with its reconstruction, Stankovic was asked to create an artistic creation that lay outside the function of the building itself. As if in a conversation with the area’s former woodlands, Stankovic chose to paint on birch plywood. The wood grain speaks quietly through the paint. The motif meets the utopian idea of an untouched landscape.

In the new A-building, there is a desire for students to have the opportunity to think outside the box, to open their minds to something beyond exams and study regimes.

In folk belief, dusk, when the sound of twittering birds fades, is when the unknown awakens. In the new A-building, there is a desire for students to have the opportunity to think outside the box, to open their minds to something beyond exams and study regimes. In dialogue with traditional knowledge and the occult world, and with an aesthetic that hails from the nightclub environment, Stankovic’s painting creates a passage to other dimensions in the middle of the students’ everyday life. When Birds Fall Silent thereby lends a luminous magic to the winter darkness of Norrbotten.

Find the artwork

Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Luleå, Sverige