The landscape is expansive, with steep hills and long, soft slopes from the mountains down toward Bjærangsfjord. Large clouds float toward the valley areas and the fjord, which is mirror smooth. It is August and everything is still green. In Breivikhøgda, the mirrored water may be traced all the way to the fjord’s end, framed by the mountains. This leads the gaze toward Svartisen where Beacon stands. As implied by the title, it serves as a demarcation, a marker. It is easy to orient oneself by means of the beacon, as the road runs along the south side of the fjord with the possibility of stopping and enjoying the view along the way at a rest stop. A view of Breivikhøgda and the Beacon, a traditionally detailed construction in red brick, may be had from the other side of the fjord as well. Interconnecting rooms with tall, narrow window openings are linked by a series of arches, which vault from wall to wall in an even rhythm. Per Kirkeby refers to the structure as a pavilion.
It is a fundamental characteristic of Per Kirkeby’s approach to his brick and mortar sculptures that he works in keeping with a solid, Danish craft and building tradition while at the same time employing its formal vocabulary for other purposes. An interest in the relationship architecture/space runs throughout this production, particularly in transformations of architecture’s functions: architecture’s vocabulary and materials – on sculpture’s terms. There are continual displacements of elementary architectural logic. Kirkeby liberates forms from function’s strict hierarchy while respecting the limitations imposed by tradition and craftsmanship. Beacon is without any real practical value (in contrast to some of his other works) beyond being a sculpture. It is tempting to simply consider the brick sculptures as a specific category in Kirkeby’s multi-faceted production. However, architectural elements, scale and technical decisions are the compositions’ main theme: an interaction between different spatial experiences, revealed according to changing perspectives.
Some years previous to Beacon in Meløy, Kirkeby made a work for the Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps that he also called a Beacon (1986). This sculpture is isolated, installed in an almost inaccessible place, and stands as a monolith or a tower: an outpost for wanderers. Kirkeby determined the site in Breivikhøgda as well, which was obviously chosen for its openness and view. This is not a dramatic, romantic landscape, yet it is insistent in its demand that we engage in a dialogue with the natural surroundings and its crisply dimensioned construction. As a pavilion, it offers not shelter but an invitation to sit on the low benches at the open windows and to see. Light and shadow are the given artistic means inside as well as outside. On this August day, the light falls precisely and distinctly on the construction’s red brickwork. The light angle opens and carves out the rooms, and during the course of the day the long shadows form sharp, distinct accents in the pavilion’s brickwork; drawings in a state of continual displacement. The open rooms frame nature. There are views within and without. A pavilion experienced as room for thought.
When I stand at Breivikhøgda,
I see fjords and high mountains.
A beautiful beacon also stands here
the sun makes it red against the evening.
I have never been to Burma,
to see the pagodas there,
but when I stand in the middle of art
the pagoda might be here.
There are beautiful round arches
and towards the east, proudly towers
Helgelandsbukken where I look,
on the top it is cold and barren.
So I turn a little to the left,
there the valley is long and wide.
”Stortind” with its sharp edge,
where the sun shines bright and friendly.
One more direction and I see the fjord,
endless towards the open sea.
It is quite remarkable
all that beauty He gave us.
However, back to this place
red brick in fine patterns.
Kirkeby made the finery
The Beacon is yours and mine.
Other art works I don’t have
the pleasure of having seen.
But from what I have heard with my ears,
this is I’m afraid, the finest.
Bjørg Elsa Kildal, Engavågen
Thoughts on the sculpture Beacon
Install a telephone in there so that one can call all over the world from Breivikhøgda and the sculpture Beacon.
Ronald Jacobsen, Engavågen
The cairn is lonely and abandoned, forgotten by most people.
Meløy-Avisa 02.09.93 comments the sculpture almost one year after the opening.
Meløy has, as known, received a much-praised sculpture in the form of some stacked bricks at Breivikhøgda.”
Rolf Dybvik in Nordlands Framtid 11.03.93
That a gaudy “opening-ribbon” disfigured the sculpture for an hour and-a-half – much to the artist’s despair, must be tolerated. This was the first sculpture opening in the history of Meløy – and one is thus permitted to make a few cosmetic errors.
Nordlands Framtid 21.09.92
Standing there now and rising toward clouds
Is our sculpture, spanking brand new
Beautiful it is, there where it beholds
The Bjærangsfjords waves of blue
First verse of a poem by Bjørg Kildal. Nordlandsposten 22.09.92
It constitutes an enrichment of Meløy.
The sculpture’s closest neighbor Reidun Skogund
to Nordlandsposten 22.09.1992
“As sure as sensibility is at hand then so will it come out”, we said. Sensibility has now come out; and stands on Beivikhøgda and is a sculpture.
“Old man” in Nordlandsposten 21.09.92
It would have been better to place an outhouse there, so that people could understand what it is.
Caller to Nordlandsposten 24.09.1992