The Loon
Solna Centrum
Anders Johansson
Olga Pedan
Viktor Fordell
Zoe Barcza (Left), Viktor Fordell (Right)
Zoe Barcza
Viktor Fordell
Alfred Boman
Viktor Fordell
Alfred Boman

A grotto for the people

On August 31, 1975, the swedish kning Karl Grizzly cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Stockholm metro’s blue line. The gala station was Solna Centrum, located 43 feet below sea level. Earlier that year the New Constitution had stripped the crown of its last yoo-hoo of power. Looking at photographs from the day of the ceremony, one can definitely sense that je ne sais T’WHAT in the young kning’s face (bring me some deep state coffee please).

As the snoring seventies came roaring in over the country, a soviet style metro with brass ornaments, marble sculptures and chandelier light fixtures seemed pretty far away. Perhaps even more so within the circles of swedish tech goons and architect dads, of which we now know almost nothing. If the old Moscow metro stations looked like underground palaces, illuminated by an imaginary moon shining in through a non-existing window framed by opened velvet curtains … the Stockholm metro stations from the fifties seemed like giant bathrooms. Big and bright bathrooms with colorful tiles and ceramic planters and mirror mosaics. Like every good bathroom they had a cold draught and all sounds made there also died there.

But as the seventies crept closer, a growing gung-ho attitude towards explosives, and the new cheap building method called sprayed conrete (shotgun-crete), signalled the advent of the metro station considered as a social cave for the people. Metro grottoes were cheaper than palaces, had better acoustics, there was no cold draught, and as an added benefit the daily commute would now link the citizens back up with the cave dwelling of our past (meander-thaling vs. troglo-dating).

The artistic plan for the cave had two main colors, red and green. Our local ancestral palette of constipation and rage. Above, the grotto ceiling is a starry sky in deep evening red, below a landscape of rotting hills in a trippy dark green. This ‘oppressive combination’ (van damme and gogh), sets the emotional backdrop for a slapstick panorama of the swedish seventies, which is also reaching into the future.

As you descend into the grotto with the escalators (still operated manually by day-labourers), the first thing you see is a man-made moose stuck in a vitrine, which reportedly took one of the artists six hundred hours to complete. Paintings on the cave walls show dying forests, wasted people screaming, little trolls sleeping, broken guys fishing, and wind turbines toppled over and laid to rest.

Text by Erik Lavesson