A five-storey high depiction of an erect blue penis on a Stockholm apartment building is to be painted over just a week after its unveiling following a storm of complaints from neighbours.
The company that owns the block, Atrium Ljungberg, told Aftonbladet it had seen the work by the artist Carolina Falkholt for the first time on Wednesday morning – along with other residents of the Swedish capital’s central Kungsholmen island.
“Culture and art are important in developing interesting urban environments,” Camilla Klimt, the company’s marketing manager, told the paper. “Of course, we care about artistic freedom. But at the same time, we must respect neighbours’ opinions.”
Klimt said the work would stay up for a short while so everyone interested could experience it. Although some people had welcomed the penis as an “important part of the debate about sexuality, body and gender”, others – especially neighbours – had “received it less well and perceived it as offensive”, she said.
Atrium Ljungberg has allowed a collective of local artists, Kollektivet Livet, free rein to decorate the apartment block wall as it sees fit since 2008. The murals usually stay in place for at least six months before a new one is commissioned.
The New York work was painted over within three days instead of the intended three weeks after similar complaints from locals. But Falkholt said on Wednesdayshe thought the reaction in her native Sweden would be different.
“I think perhaps it will be allowed to remain here, people will get the message and let it take its place in the debate,” she said. “I think there’s more intellectual space to discuss the subject, in a nuanced way.”
She said she liked to think of the Stockholm painting – titled Fuck the World – as “a reincarnation”. Falkholt could not be reached for comment on Friday.