Henie-Onstad Art Centre in Baerum
The Henie-Onstad Art Centre (HOK) in Baerum near Oslo was opened in 1968. It was founded thanks to a donation made by the world-famous ice skater Sonia Henie and her husband, the shipowner Niels Onstad. Both were art collectors, but they wanted the centre to become something more than just a gallery. It was to function as an area for the creation of modern art.
The collection numbers over 4000 paintings, including by such well-known artists as Pierre Soulanges, Picasso and Joan Gris. The sculpture park, surrounding the building, contains works by Norwegian and international artists, such as Arnold Haukeland and Henry Moore.
In 1972, on the recommendation of Arne Nordheim, the Centre hired the composer and sound engineer Harold (Hal) Clark. As the Centre's producer and sound manager, in 1974 Clark established the Norwegian Studio of Electronic Music (NSEM). Over the following years, Nordheim used the studio's facilities numerous times, including during his work on Forbindelser, music for five cities, radio and television. In 1979, when the studio was moved to the Music Academy, Clark built a smaller unit at the Centre.
Nordheim's interest went far beyond purely musical areas, working at the Centre with other artists and in other fields of art.
Much of the music commissioned by the Centre or performed there was later released on CD or made available on electronic distribution platforms.
A good example of such an intermedia project, bringing together various dimensions of art, is Solitaire for electroacoustic sounds and light design by Terje Moe. In this work, Nordheim wanted to combine music with text and light. The music, played in quadrophonic arrangement, is based on the poem "Les Bijoux" by Charles Baudelaire:
Ce monde rayonnant de métal et de pierre
Me ravit en extase, et j´aime avec fureur
Les choses où le son se mèle à la lumière.
This radiant world of metal and of gems
Transports me with delight;
I passionately love
All things in which sound is mingled with light.
(transl. William Aggeler)
The work was commissioned for the opening of the Henie-Onstad Art Centre, on 23 August 1968. Illuminated shards of mirrors were hung from the Centre’s ceiling on a number of small electric engines. The engines started and stopped in accordance with a system of signals. Thus the “radiation” and metal from the text metamorphosed into light. Nordheim recorded a female voice reading the text and processed it in such a way that one can only hear fragments of words.
Other works written for the Centre by Nordheim include H20, electroacoustic music for Henry Moore's sculpture Standing Figure Knife Edge (1976) and Zwitschern mit Donner [Twittering with thunder], an electroacoustic composition for Paul Klee's painting Die Zwitcher-maschine [The twitter machine) (1985). Partita fur Paul for solo violin with digital delay unit (1985) was composed for an exhibition of works by Klee referring to music.
Høvikodden has been the venue for the world premieres of such works as the following:
1970: Tillitspolka [Trust polka] for vocalist, jazz quartet and electroacoustics.
A Forum of the arts – The Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad Foundations in Norway, a film about the centre with electroacoustic music by Nordheim
Telefonbar, a three-dimensional installation made of twenty telephones and electroacoustic sounds, created for the exhibition "Our World of Things";
1971: Ohm for lur and tape,
1976: Electroacoustic music for the unveiling of Henry Moore’s sculpture Standing Figure Knife Edge.