Konstverket Dansen mäter 4x7 meter. Bilden visar hur verket monteras ner av konservatorer.
Väggmålningen Dansen av Göteborgskoloristen Nils Nilsson mäter 7x4 meter. Verket ska få en ny placering i Konstnärliga fakultetens nya byggnad Konstnärliga.
Photo: Akademiska Hus

Dansen saved and relocated to Konstnärliga


It has now been confirmed that the work of art known as Dansen, The Dance, will be relocated to Konstnärliga, the new building for the Artistic Faculty. The mural by Nils Nilsson has been successfully dismantled using a method used to move works of art at the ancient Italian city of Pompeii.

On behalf of the property owner Akademiska Hus, four conservators have spent a couple of weeks working intensively to dismantle the mural by artist Nils Nilsson, which is almost 7 x 4 metres in size and until now has been adorning a wall in the Kjellbergska building on the Näckrosen university campus.

It has long been the aim of Akademiska Hus and the University of Gothenburg to preserve the work, but it was not a foregone conclusion that it could be dismantled successfully.

– It was only when the premises were vacated in December that we had the opportunity to examine the condition of the work and the wall and gain more clarity. The fact that Dansen has now been dismantled and we have therefore managed to save the work is very gratifying. As a result, a lot of people will be able to enjoy the painting in the future, says Pontus Isaksson, Real Estate Director at Akademiska Hus.

Italian method

The method used is known as strappo and has also been used to move many of Pompeii’s murals to Naples National Archaeological Museum. To put it simply, the method involves gluing several layers of strips of cotton canvas over the surface of the painting. The surface is then methodically worked with a rubber mallet, which allows the glued decorated layer of plaster to be detached from the underlying plaster piece by piece, divided into sections according to the contours in the picture. All parts are numbered and marked on a drawing. 

New home at the Konstnärliga building

A lot of hard work went into finding a new home for Dansen as the work was being dismantled. Akademiska Hus has now decided, in dialogue with the University of Gothenburg, that the painting will be installed in one of the entrances created for the new building for the Artistic Faculty. The current entrance will have glass panels facing Johannebergsgatan, which will allow the work to hang in a more public and accessible place than has been the case to date.

– As far as the university and the faculty are concerned, we are very relieved and pleased that Akademiska Hus has been able to preserve Dansen and find a new home in the faculty’s new building. As far as we are concerned, it is important for Nils Nilsson’s work to be more accessible to the public when Konstnärliga opens in 2027, says Henric Benesch, Acting Dean at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts.

Akademiska Hus, as the owner of the property and the artwork, will pay all the costs associated with dismantling, storing and installing Dansen.

There are another five building-related works at the Artisten building. Akademiska Hus has investigated new locations for all building-related works in both the building to be demolished and the part of Artisten that is to be renovated. The works will be relocated to either the Konstnärliga building or elsewhere.

Demolition work begins

The demolition of Lilla Kjellbergska and Stora Kjellbergska will begin in the latter part of February and is expected to continue until June 2023. The Nyrénska part of Artisten is to be renovated and is planned to be ready for occupancy in 2025. The two newly constructed buildings are planned to be ready for occupancy in 2027.