Art or Civic Vandalism?

Most cities around the world are plagued by graffiti but few would argue that graffiti at its best is not art.  When it just consists of kids scrawling their names all over bus stops etcetera it is little but senseless vandalism.  In Bergen the standard of graffiti is shockingly bad.  Even the area put aside for the city’s ‘better’ graffiti artists is of a pretty poor standard when compared to other cities I’ve visited.  These guys would be laughed out of London, Paris, Madrid etc.

The other side of the coin is the ‘art’ commissioned by cities themselves.  Sometimes the art installations in these instances are at the best controversial and at worst downright hideous or laughable.  One thing is for sure – they always prompt debate.  Being quite a small place Bergen doesn’t have a huge amount of dodgy civic artwork adorning its streets, but a couple of examples are shown below, snapped a few days ago when Mrs Mjollnir was in the centre doing some ‘wifey-stuff’…

Graffiti wall
The graffiti wall in Bergen, near the main theatre.
For some reason we have a joint-smoking, Spanish-speaking paintbrush. Some wry comment on dope-driven graffiti art no doubt.
On a more humorous note we have this nude female figure adorning the gateway to an alley off Kong Oscars Gate.
Then we have the obligatory modern art installation. This is stuck outside an office block near the main square. Triangles, pyramid references and mirrors.  No doubt someone cleverer than I can get its ‘significance.’





36 thoughts on “Art or Civic Vandalism?

  1. I like graffiti, here the first one is specially nice. I prefer people do graffiti (whatever they paint to express themselves) than making violence actions.


  2. I think graffiti that is artfully done can definitely brighten up a place and make it seem more arty. The first time that this was proven to me was in Santiago where the graffiti is more like street art that gives the city its very artistic atmosphere.


  3. I’m torn about this…not a big fan of graffiti but at the same time, I like anything that is well done. I think I would prefer a good mural but that is just my opinion


    1. Quality graffiti-art is one thing (these mostly take the form of large murals anyway) but mindless scribbles are a huge turn-off! Thanks for your continued support 😀


          1. I think most of the Things you Call “mindless scribbles” really arren’t mindless.. Graffiti is a very misunderstood culture, and most People judge it without knowing anything at all about it except the shit you hear in the media. It isn’t about destroying anything or trying to be cool, to me it’s a political and philosophical movement, and even the smallest and simplest signatures have a meaning behind them. It’s about expressing yourself, reclaiming Public Space and making People think outside the Box.


            1. When I used the term ‘mindless scribbles’ it wasn’t necessarily my opinion. I was only repeating what you rightly ascribe to the predominantly conservative right-wing media stereotype. I think graffiti can be, as you say, something which can be politically aware and can say something meaningful but a gang-name scrawled on a wall. A lot of graffiti is very often just a statement of ‘here we are and aren’t we bad for doing this.’ Nothing clever and no thought behind it other than look at me I’m doing a naughty thing. That is mindless scribbling, no other justification can be given for it, but a lot of street artwork is a different and is a valuable contribution to urban life. I didn’t at any time say that all graffiti is ‘mindless scribbling.’ Some good, some bad – such is life.


  4. That nude lady is beautiful :))
    As long as it’s nicely done, I think it is interesting art.


    1. Yeah, she’s cool enough, but the standard of graffito here is woeful and the triangle thingie I just don’t get! What’s all this with colour photos from Malin? One blue eye peeking out! 😀 xx


      1. I agree… there is art and there is “art”. I know what you mean.

        Oh… Yes, I do have some color photos too :)) xx


  5. Hi, i like this article of you. I want to do a little bit the same but then about Eindhoven. Is it ok that i refer to your article? Thanks Jos


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