It was online newspaper Subject as first mentioned case Tuesday.
– We had an agreement that Lars Vilks he would be with in Drammen. But the security arrangements around the participation ended up between two chairs in the Swedish and Norwegian police, says artist and director Morten Traavik to Dagsavisen.
The Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who lived under extensive security measures for almost 15 years due to death threats from Islamists, died in a traffic accident on Sunday. On Tuesday, Morten Traavik said in a Facebook post that Lars Vilks was to take part in Traavik’s performance “Sløserikommisjonen 2: Dommedag” in Drammen on 22 June. But “bureaucratic misunderstandings between Norwegian and Swedish police” and quarantine rules meant that it was not possible to get the necessary security measures around Vilks, according to Traavik.
10 day quarantine with full security
Vilks must have been in quarantine for ten days, and was willing to do so, but it also led to a lot of security in the quarantine period. Eventually, it became too difficult to get in place. It is a shame. In principle, we should make it happen, says Traavik, who himself has been behind a number of controversial art projects.
Lars Vilks and bodyguards died in a traffic accident on Sunday, when the car they were driving came over in the opposite lane and hit a trailer on the E4 motorway at Markaryd in Småland. Swedish political significance that they have not found any indications that it was anything else yet and accident.
Lars Vilks lived under extensive security measures after 2007, when he had drawn the Prophet Mohammed as a dog, something that provoked official reactions against Sweden from a number of countries in the Muslim world, and death threats against Vilks. In 2015, Vilks was subjected to an assassination attempt during a debate meeting in Copenhagen.
Controversy over the Waste Ombudsman
Morten Traavik’s theater performance “Sløserikommisjonen” caused a stir when it was commissioned for last year’s Festival in Bergen. The performance is a collaboration with the controversial Facebook profile Sløseriombudsmannen, which has been described as creating incitement and threats against Norwegian artists. In June this year, the performance was wasted at Drammens Teater as part of the festival Kulturytring Drammen, where the government-appointed Freedom of Expression Commission had its input meeting on freedom of expression among artists.
In the wake of Kulturytring Drammen, 15 artists’ organizations and controversial sent a joint appeal to the Ministry of Culture, where they protested against the Waste Ombudsman’s participation in the input meeting.
– Lars Vilk’s life and work is a reminder that freedom of speech is something we must fight for, not something we can take for granted. Many are not willing to take it upon themselves, Traavik believes.
– I wanted him to be physically present on stage during the performance, so that the threat picture and the security offer should be felt on the body also to the audience. Therefore, Zoom or Video Link was not an option. We would also not get any opportunity to come to the next show in 2022, says Traavik.
Traavik says he had been dealing with Vilks for the past few years after they met during a theater conference in 2015.
– We have known about different for some years, and felt a certain kinship in our artistic project. As the “Waste Commission” began to deal less with waste of tax money, and more with violation and freedom of expression, it became natural to include Lars Vilks in the performance, says Traavik.
– Unlike some of my colleagues in the art field, who demand protection and government action after receiving bad comments on Facebook, is Lars Vilks and who really got paid a price for his artistic utterances. It would have been healthy for the Norwegian performing arts field to be reminded of this.
– Among those who now pay tribute to Lars Vilks for his courage, are the same people who boycotted Kulturytring Drammen because of the performance where he should have been. It feels paradoxical, says Traavik.
Tribute with distaste
Vilks was both an artist and an art historian in addition to the cartoonist, Principles Traavik. From 1997 to 2003, Vilks was a professor at the Bergen Academy of the Arts, and worked at the Statens Kunstakademi in Oslo from 1988 to 1993.
– He is one of the sharpest, most knowledgeable art theorists we had. I wanted to show that he was more than the Mohammed drawing, which unfortunately overshadowed everything else he did, says Traavik.
After the participation in “Sløserikommisjonen 2” had to be dropped, Traavik and Vilks agreed that he would participate in the next “Sløserikommisjonen” performance, which is planned for next year in Kristiansand.
– It is tragic that he is now gone. But some of the tributes to Lars Vilks here in Sweden get a certain distaste for me, says Traavik, who commutes between Norway and Sweden, and has followed the reactions in Sweden in the last days after Vilks’ sudden death.
-Lars Vilks himself got to experience the Swedish cultural establishment criticizing the use of taxpayers’ money for 24-hour protection because he violated Islam. He is more popular as dead than alive, says Morten Traavik.
* Born 20 June 1946 in Helsingborg, died in a collision on Sunday 3 October 2021.
* Swedish visual artist, art historian, cartoonist and professor, especially known for the two controversial landscape sculptures Nimis and Arx in the nature reserve Kullaberg, in Höganäs.
* Vilks has also been much talked about and received death threats for drawing the Prophet Muhammad as a dog.
* In 2015, he was subjected to a terrorist attack in Copenhagen, then as a participant in a debate meeting on art, blasphemy and freedom of speech. Vilks escaped unharmed from the attack, but the Danish documentary filmmaker Finn Nørgaard was shot and killed, and three policemen were injured.
* Has been a professor of art theory at the Bergen School of Art and Design (1997–2003) and has worked at the Statens Kunstakademi in Oslo (1988–1993).
Source: Large Norwegian encyclopedia (NTB)