Reportaget: Väggar som berättar

Ur arkivet. Nr 4-2015. Text: Jane Morén

En lång kamp går mot sitt slut. I utropshallen i Kolingsborg i Stockholm är det bara timmar kvar för muralmålningarna föreställande hamnarbetare. Rivningsfirman står beredd, det socialdemokratiska kulturborgarrådet som har makt att rädda målningarna håller fast vid sitt ja till rivning.

 

Fackeltåget på Slussens 80-årsdag rör sig sakta i klöverformen. Trafikkarusellen som blev världsberömd när den invigdes på 30-talet. På 50-talet byggde man den runda byggnaden i rondellen och gav en av den tidens kända konstnärer, Ingemar Callenberg, uppdraget att dekorera väggarna i utropshallen. Där annonserades två gånger om dagen de lediga jobben ut. Det blev 100 kvm muralmålningar i kalkteknik föreställande hamnarbetare längs Slussens och Söder Mälarstrands kajer. Böjda ryggar och sträckta armar, samarbete, men även lugna stunder av vila med en smörgås.

På den tiden var Slussen en levande arbetsplats med lyftkranar, sjömän och fartyg. Det minns arbetarförfattare Lena Kallenberg. Ingemar Callenberg var hennes morbror.

– Jag glömmer aldrig när han stolt tog med mig till invigningen och visade mig konsten han skapat, berättar hon.

Ingemar Callenberg utbildade sig på Konstfack och gjorde flera offentliga utsmyckningar i Sverige. Han var en experimentell konstnär som provade på många olika tekniker och han ville inte sättas in i ett fack. Han fick flera uppdrag med att måla folk i arbete och flera av hans verk hänger på fackförbundens kontor. Bland annat har han målat monumentala freskmålningar på Kommunalarbetarnas och Metallarbetarnas kontor.

 

Men tiderna förändrades, jobben flyttade på sig och utropshallen med personalutrymmen skulle göras om till nattklubb. Några målare fick på 70-talet i uppgift att måla väggarna. Uppdragsgivaren kommenderade svart färg. Det berättas att målarna blev stående där nedanför de stora målningarna. Ska vi förstöra konst som visar bröders arbete? De tvekade, och bestämde sig för att: Nej! Måla över den fina konsten, det kunde de bara inte. På eget bevåg trotsade de därför ordern. De skaffade fram och satte upp panel framför målningarna. På den strök de den svarta färgen. Detta initiativ räddade målningarna i fyrtio år.

Det sägs att konsten glöms bort under tiden som följer. Att den återupptäcks 2014. Det stämmer till viss del. Stadsmuséet skrev dock en artikel om konsten på 80-talet och Lena Kallenberg glömmer såklart inte. Under sina besök på Kolingsborg under början av 2000-talet när hon skrev sin bok Slussen, kortprosa (2004) ser hon det även många andra måste ha sett: en stor bit av målningarna syns tydligt även när lokalen används som bingohall och nattklubb.

Men för Jan Ohlin, konstvetare, som kommit att bli en av mest aktiva aktivisterna i protestgruppen Bevara Slussen var konsten i Kolingsborg helt okänd. Det var under en syn, som mark- och miljööverdomstolen gjorde juni 2013, som han fick komma in i Kolingsborg för första gången. Han fick syn på en av målningarna och blev intresserad. Frågade de som var på visningen vem konstnären var. Ingen visste. Han gick hem, letade på Internet och fann en artikel av Lena Kallenberg från 2004.

Han återvände till Kolingsborg och förstod att under panelen fanns hela fresken kvar. Men han såg också något annat. Han såg att Kolingsborg inte bara varit utropshall och hamnkontor, utan också en plats där arbetarna kunnat göra sig rena efter en lång och smutsig arbetsdag. Det fanns rader av duschrum runt hela byggnaden.

– Jag såg det som en värdighetens plats. Här fanns inte bara konsten som tog arbetarnas arbete på allvar, här fanns även möjligheten att hålla sig ren. Hit kom de efter långa arbetsdagar för att tvätta av sig dagens smuts och kunna gå hem som anständiga människor, menar Jan Ohlin.

Efter sitt besök kontaktade han Stadsmuseet som blev väldigt intresserade. Han förväntade sig därför att det snart skulle ordnas visning. Men tvärtom. Ingen tilläts se konsten när museet tog ner den svarta panelen. Inte ens han som återupptäckt den.

Jan Ohlin bildade då Callenberggruppen tillsammans med tunga akademiska namn inom konst- och kulturvärlden. Man förde fram förslag om att målningarna skulle bevaras. Kostnaden för det föreslog man skulle tas av den procent i budgeten som planerats för utsmyckning i den nya gallerian. Men deras förslag fick inget gehör. Stadsmuseet ville inte ta hand om målningarna. Någon sa att det inte gick att flytta målningarna, att de skulle rasa samman.

– Vilket inte stämmer alls, berättar Lena Kallenberg. Det går utmärkt att flytta dem, det är viljan som saknas, inget annat.

Jan Ohlin och de andra aktivisterna kämpade vidare. Tog reda på mera om konstnären och spred kunskapen om honom på Internet. Bilden växte fram.

– Klasskampen var väldigt påtaglig för Ingemar Callenberg. Han var från Luleå, hans bästa vän bodde i samma hus som tidningen Norrskensflammans redaktion och omkom när tidningen utsattes för ett attentat och hela huset brann ner, berättar Jan Ohlin.

Efter framgångsrika år i Stockholm flyttade Ingemar Callenberg tillbaka till hemstaden Luleå, arbetade som konstnär även där, men dog tidigt, endast 47 år gammal, av en felbehandlad diabetes.

Slussenprojektet, som i många år arbetat för att få riva fyrklöverns trafiklösning och Kolingsborg, malde samtidigt vidare i sina kvarnar. Aktivisterna försökte med allt. Sossarna, vänstern och miljöpartiet som tidigare stått bakom bevarandet svek plötsligt. Det började se riktigt mörkt ut.

Då försöker gruppen få tillstånd till offentliga visningar, så folket ska kunna se målningarna innan de slås sönder. De nekas också det.

– Det är en mycket rimlig begäran att få visa upp konsten i Kolingsborg menar Lena Kallenberg. Målningarna hänger intimt samman med hamnarbetet kring Slussen och Stadsgården och är en viktig del av stadens historia.

Själva dokumentationen av konsten har inte heller skett på rätt sätt. Det menar Fred Andersson, docent i konstvetenskap vid Åbo Akademi och speciellt intresserad av arbetarkonst.

– Fotodokumentationen som Stadsmuseet har gjort av målningarna är otillräcklig. En riktig dokumentation av ett konstverk som skall förstöras omfattar inte bara fotografier utan också noggranna uppgifter om format, teknik, material med mera. Dokumentationen skall göras av yrkeskunnig personal inom föremålshantering och målerikonservering. Det har inte gjorts, och det tyder på en nonchalans i attityden till både stadens och arbetarrörelsens kulturhistoria.

I början av oktober 2015 har rivningsfirman Destroy intagit Kolingsborg. Varje dag försvinner ännu en bit av det runda huset. Aktivisterna är trötta efter många års kamp mot vad de ser som vinklade analyser, förskönade byggplaner och odemokratiska beslut i Stadshuset. Men fortsätter ändå tappert. Den 10 oktober har nya försök gjorts, kontakt har tagits med Statens maritima museer, Svenska hamnarbetarförbundet, samt Magasin III i Frihamnen. Om inte dessa sista försök lyckas, och det är bråttom, är unik arbetarkonst snart för evigt sönderslagen.

 

I slutet av oktober meddelar hamnen att man ställer plats till förfogande för målningarna. På arbetarkongressen i november ställer ledande socialdemokratiske landstingspolitikern Curre Hansson från Slussen-sossarna, sin partibroder, borgarrådet för kultur- och stadsbyggnad, Rogert Mogert mot väggen för att få honom rädda målningarna åt eftervärlden. Mogert har varit den som obegripligt nog stått i vägen för att rädda arbetarkonsten. Men det hjälper inte. I mitten av november är det slut. Aktivisterna går ut med sorgebeskedet. Man samlas för att tända ljus tillsammans, ett adjö till Slussen och till arbetarkonsten.

På radion försöker en reporter ställa Roger Mogert mot väggen, en sista gång. Mogert drar återigen till med att det skulle kosta upp till 200 miljoner att rädda konsten och kulturjournalisten Karsten Thurfjell, som är med i samma program, raljerar över att aktivisterna sedan länge kramat en ruin. Han menar också att Callenberg är bortglömd, att muralmålningarna inte är konsthistoria och att man kan köpa en målning av konstnären på auktion för en hundralapp.

Den 18 november skriver Jan Ohlin på Facebook: Den nattvandrare som vill ha en skärva av Callenbergs konst kan kolla vid Kolingsborg, där Gula gången mynnar mot Gamla stan, vid popplarna.

Så slutar det alltså. Målningarna ligger sönderslagna och tippade i en hög nedanför Slussen. Jag går dit en kväll. Bland spillrorna tycker jag mig se en skärva med färg på. Men tipphögen är omgärdad av stängsel så jag kan bara se den på avstånd. Det är en overklig känsla. Kolingsborg är borta och med den konsten som berättade om arbetarna.

 

FAKTARUTA:

Muralmålningarna i utropshallen utfördes med tidskrävande kalkteknik på betong. Meningarna har gått isär huruvida det är möjligt att skära ut och flytta dem.

Foto: Mattias Ek, Stadsmuseet

MER ARBETARKONST:

Facebookgruppen: Arbetarkonst

Bloggen: arbetarkonst.blogspot.se

Ny bok: Arbetarkonst för 2000-talet, Ahlbäckspristagarna 1993-2014 av Fred Andersson, Dalarnas museum (2015). (Ahlbäckpriset är ett pris som utdelas till konstnärer som verkar i konstnären Johan Ahlbäcks anda. Johan Ahlbäckstiftelsen delar sedan 1993 ut denna utmärkelse för att främja arbetarkonst och arbetarkultur.)

Fackeltåg på 80-årsdagen

Bilden på fackeltåget är tagen av busschaufför Bernt Lindgren som aktivt deltagit i försöken att rädda Slussenkarusellen, främst för kulturhistorian, men även för att han vet vad en flexibel, bra och framkomlig trafikmiljö betyder för chaufförer, passagerare och turister. Bernt har fotograferat i många år, bland annat på sitt arbete, har haft några utställningar och har ett digitalt arkiv. I nästa nummer kommer vi visa några av hans bilder.

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