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In 2021, The Mother by Tracey Emin will be a new attraction in Oslo for visitors. Ill; J& L Gibbons
In 2021, The Mother by Tracey Emin will be a new attraction in Oslo for visitors. Ill; J& L Gibbons

Press release -

The Mother 2021 – a new artwork in Oslo

What: The Mother, a 9-meter tall bronze sculpture by Tracey Emin.
Where: Outside, on a new park area, next to the new Munch Museum in Bjørvika, Oslo, Norway
When: Sculpture to be unveiled 2021. The area where the sculpture will stand, will be opened to the public in the spring of 2021.

Tracey Emin’s The Mother, a nine-meter high bronze sculpture outside the new Munch Museum in Bjørvika will be the artist's largest so far - and a new attraction in Oslo for visitors. 

About the sculpture The Mother

In 2018, Tracey Emin won an international competition for an outdoor artwork next to the new Munch museum with her large-scale bronze sculpture, The Mother. The winning proposal was a seven-meter high bronze sculpture, later enlarged to nine meters to better fit into the towering surroundings.

The Mother will be kneeling under the towering structure of the new Munch Museum, a nude, vulnerable woman will face the fjord. The sculpture acts as a stand-in for Munch's own mother, who died of tuberculosis when he was five years old, she welcomes all visitors to the area, protecting the heritage of Munch in its new home. As the artist wrote in her statement for the competition, “The Mother sits like a Sphinx, waiting for the tide. Looking out to sea – protecting the home of Munch. She is welcoming all of nature. She is the companion of the Ghost of Munch”

A new art- and park area in Oslo

A brand new park area is now being built for recreation along the harbor promenade at Bjørvika, on which The Mother will be located. The park consists of a meadow of wildflowers and plants built on a concrete foundation, and accessible from land via a 30 meter long bridge from the seafront promenade. The Park, called The Museum Island, is located at Akerselven's old outlet and is easily visible both from Sørenga and from the city.

The meadow was designed by award-winning London-based landscape architects J&L Gibbons, in close collaboration with Tracey Emin, and is based on her vision for the landscape. The 280 square meter meadow will contain local wildflowers and plants collected from the Oslofjord area. 100 small meadow birches will be planted on site. The park also serves as a dock for visitors arriving by boat.

The artist’s vision for the landscape in which the sculpture sits:

“I would like the landscape to be like a natural meadow, organic, and beautiful. It should be a simple garden landscape that doesn’t appear expensive. It should seem green and gentle, like a garden with wild flowers changing with the season. Wild, simple, grass and flowers around. Light, like she (The Mother) is sitting in the field.”


Tracey Emin (born 1963) has exhibited extensively internationally, including solo and group exhibitions across Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and America. She represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and was elected a Royal Academician in the same year. Tracey Emin visiting Oslo in 2018 when sh won the art competion. Photo: Agency of cultural affairs, The city of Oslo.

In 2011, she became the Professor of Drawing at The Royal Academy of Arts, London. In 2013 Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.Throughout her career she has continued to use her life as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, sculpture, video and installation, to photography, needlework and neon text.

“Her art is primarily expressionistic, a cipher for memories and emotions that can be frank and poetic, intimate and universal.” (White Cube).

Emin is a life-long admirer of Edvard Munch and his art has been a vital inspiration for her for many years. She wrote her thesis, ‘My Man Munch’, about him.

More info on Tracey Emin here

From the Jury’s assessment of Emin’s proposal to the completion in 2018:
“Emin’s proposal of a large seated female figure facing the fjord promises to be a striking presence at the edge of the Museum Island and against the backdrop of the cityscape / architecture of Bjørvika. With its immediate and visceral artistic approach it appears both intimate and majestic, vulnerable and grandiose.

The title refers to a mature protector and the sculpture brings to mind the ubiquitous motifs of women and the nude in Munch’s work. The jury believes that this proposal will appeal to a wide range of visitors and that The Mother has the potential to become a landmark and a symbol not only for the Munch Museum but also for Oslo harbour. Tracey Emin is a life-long admirer of Munch, and his art has been a vital inspiration for her for many years, making The Mother both apt and site relevant.”

More information about The Mother and Museum Island here

The City of Oslo art programme is for the audience

The City of Oslo has its own art collection that is situated all over the capital, in a thousand different places, outside and inside the municipality's many buildings and the city's public spaces - in short, where people work and live. 0.5 % of Oslo's total investment budget is dedicated to art every year .The purpose of the art programme is to ensure that professional art characterizes and enriches the City of Oslo`s buildings and outdoor spaces for the benefit of a general public. The Agency for Cultural Affairs administers the programme and has the overall professional responsibility, develops temporary and permanent art projects and makes purchases for the art collection.

Tracy Emin – The Mother will be an addition to the collection when it will be unveiled in 2021

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The Agency for Cultural Affairs (Kulturetaten) ensures quality, diversity and development in cultural offerings in Oslo. The Agency also recommends candidates for grants and scholarships for various projects aiming to promote art, culture and media in the city. The Agency is also responsible for the City of Oslo’s art programme, the City Archives, Oslo Culture School, the Pop Centre, the Vigeland Museum, the sculptures in the Vigeland Park, Oslo Culture Night, Oslo biennalen, summer camps, cultural properties, the Events Office (arrangementskontoret), and more.

Stein Slyngstad has been director since 2018.

Deichman is the agency for the public libraries in the city of Oslo. Founded in 1785, it consists of 22 branches all over Oslo and is Norway's largest and oldest public library. A Deichman library is a haven for you, no matter who you are; where you can read, work, relax, meet friends, or just be alone. You can borrow from our collection of over a million books, movies, CDs and other material. There is free wireless internet, and free access to computers and workshop tools. All you pay for is the paper and materials used when you print or copy. Our libraries are meeting places where you can experience or arrange everything from concerts and cartoon festivals to language courses and political debates. Deichman wants to contribute to a society where everyone has a sense of belonging, ownership and commitment – towards both the community and their own lives. No matter why you come here, you will leave with something.

Munchmuseet is one of Norway’s leading cultural institutions, which is dedicated to the life and works of Edvard Munch, Norway’s most important modern artist. The museum houses the largest collection of artworks by Munch in the world and was originally founded in Oslo in 1963 on what would have been Munch’s 100th birthday. The museum’s collection consists of well over half of the artist’s entire body of work, which Munch bequeathed to the city of Oslo, with over 28,000 pieces in its permanent collection. Munchmuseet also manages collections donated by Rolf Stenersen, Amaldus Nielsen and Ludvig Ravensberg. In 2014, Munchmuseet commenced work on a new museum building in Bjørvika on Oslo’s waterfront. The brand-new building, designed by Estudio Herreros, will trace the artist’s profound influence both on modern art and on artists through to the present day. The tailor-made structure will allow for a more extensive presentation of iconic works from the renowned permanent Munch collection, alongside temporary exhibitions featuring leading contemporary artists.


Jørn Johansen

Jørn Johansen

Press contact Director of Communications at Deichman Deichman Public Library, Oslo +47 900 97 250
Anne-Line Aaslund

Anne-Line Aaslund

Press contact Senior Communications Advisor, The Agency for Cultural Affairs +47 412 23 041
Tone Kjensmo

Tone Kjensmo

Press contact Communication advisor, Culture Affairs +47 470 79 019

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