It was just last year that Henrik Aa. Uldalen painted a mural on a massive building for a street art project called Ugangprosjektet in Drammen, Norway. Days ago, the artist posted a photo of the piece being destroyed on Instagram. Several of his followers offered their condolences and outrage in reaction to seeing the elegant, dramatic portrait demolished. Words like “heartache” and “crushing” were used; sad emojis rampant. But here’s the thing: Uldalen not only knew this would happen to his work, he counted on it.
The Hi-Fructose Vol. 24 cover artist was last featured on the website in 2014, with his sleepy portraits. Below he talks about the opportunity and lessons from being involved in a large-scale piece headed for certain doom.
“When I was contacted last year, I heard of this wall and specifically requested it, as I was told it was going to be torn down,” Uldalen tells Hi-Fructose. “As much as I want my art to carry on living after I’m gone, I love the idea of art being fleeting like smoke or indeed life itself. Nothing lasts forever. I find the concept of destruction beautiful. In the grand scale of the human existence, I believe destruction is as central as breeding and eating. We are an aggressive species in the need of progression which unavoidably needs destruction. When you look at it from some distance it’s clear that all human efforts, even goodheartedly, is still pushing someone else down; your neighbor, other countries, economies or nature itself. One could say that destruction is as humanistic as it gets and the meaning of bestiality and humane ought to be swapped.”
You can check out video of the demolition here.