steilneset memorial

to memorialise witches who were burned on the norwegian island vardø in the seventeenth century, architect peter zumthor and artist louise bourgeois were asked to design a memorial, which would be also part of norway’s ongoing national tourist routes national tourist routes programme.

the steilneset memorial in vardø comprises two structures, one conceived entirely by zumthor and a second
housing an installation by the louise bourgeois (1911-2010).
taking inspiration from the vast wooden wracks once used to dry the daily catch, zumthor’s structure is a pine scaffolding framework, inside which a suspended fabric cocoon contains a long oak-floored corridor.inside this corridor, which can be accessed via a pamp,light bulbs hang behind 91 windows to represent each of the vistims of the witch trials.
a plaque accompanies each lamp to record the individual stories of every victim.

a black glass cube houses the artwork by louise bourgeoise, an installation entitled “the damned, the possessed and the beloved”.the structure is open to the elements and the smoked glass plays with the location’s summer daytime and winter darkness. a circle of mirrors within surround and reflect a flaming steel chair inside a hollow concrete cone.

as seen on