Jon Benjamin Tallerås has created three new works specifically for the square at the City Hall in Bergen. The exhibition consists of the two reliefs Béton brut (Viksjø blues) I & II, shown in one of the windows and a door in the City Hall. The video work The Seeming Disorder is shown as a back-projection on another window, and all the works can be seen from outside on the street.
In the reliefs we see abstract patterns that come from a wall in the street Kjølberggata in Oslo. Tallerås set up an unauthorized workplace in the area where the casts were taken, and used this urban space as a workplace for the 24 hours it took to mount the layers of silicone that made the casting possible. In this way he made a copy of the surface of the wall, and these copies are shown in the form of reliefs in the exhibition. He wanted to archive a randomly chosen part of the city and to process it into an artwork – a way of stealing part of the city without removing it from its original location.
The city consists of surfaces and structures that are in constant transformation, and which are sculptured by the people who live in and use the city. The patterns on the facades in Kjølberggata come from lumps in the mortar that was used when the facade was plastered. The interaction of the circular motions of the builders in the mortar was the starting point for the abstract patterns that have arisen.
The formats of the reliefs are taken directly from the door and window in which they are shown. The modernist expression in the reliefs is reflected in the City Hall itself, which was designed by Erling Viksjø, one of the foremost architects in Norwegian modernism. The City Hall in Bergen is in natural concrete and demonstrates Viksjø’s interest in structures and surfaces.
The video work The Seeming Disorder was inspired by an extract from the writer and activist Jane Jacobs’ book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The paragraph is about the complex seeming disorder that is typical of public space: people moving in intricate patterns, criss-crossing one another’s paths, among cars and buildings, up and down the pavement, and across roads and squares.
The film is shown as a back-projection on one of the windows in the City Hall, and the moving crowds of people in the video are repeated in the public space surrounding the City Hall. In the same way the soundtrack of the film is duplicated in the encounter with the sounds of the city of Bergen.