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Hannes Tirén Paints in a WWII Bunker in Malmö, Sweden (Video)

Posted on May 28, 2015

“An underground bunker from World War II.

A manic artist painting day and night for several months.

A party in the forest and his first show/exhibition…”

That’s how street artists Erik Vestment & Nils Petter described to us this hidden art installation and show by Hannes Tirén that they recorded on video below the surface in Malmö, Sweden.

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Hannes Tirén. (photo © Erik & Nils Petter)

In it you see the Stockholm native buffing the bunker and acclimating to his new environment, gradually filling the ceiling and walls with one contiguous mural, culminating one night in a small candle lit art show for friends and family.

“I had just moved down to Malmö and bumped into Erik over a beer and we knew each other through common friends, and he asked me straight away if I would be up for talking a bike ride down to the shore in the cold rainy autumn evening to show me this military bunker that he thought I should paint,” says Hannes as he recounts the experience, which was more difficult than he may have realized at first.

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

“I spent many many night alone down there trying to paint my way in the darkness with batteries that got moist and with a brain that also kind of went a bit nuts sometimes,” he says as he describes feelings of isolation and strange imaginings – and and how he pushed beyond them.

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

At first, it wasn’t clear what kind of art project he wanted to make in this clandestine concrete cubby hole in the ground. “I had lots of different ideas; to fill it up with candy, or maybe with stolen bike skeletons that I found on my nightly expeditions,” he says.

“But in the end I decided just to try to tell a story in the room with my paint.” For inspiration he looked at his life. “It’s a story about death, love and confusion I suppose – and maybe some more ingredients.”

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

Hannes says he settled into a pattern of waiting until just after dark when he knew respectable people would no longer be walking their dogs on the public lawn near the bunker, and he climbed down into the hole with art supplies and candles to explore. While working he tried not to be disturbed by the eerie acoustics.

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

“I had to wait to climb down to into the pitch dark hole that made sounds vibrate in impossible ways,” he says with some trepidation. “The waves from the ocean, the birds that screamed in the middle of the night – they all sounded different in different places. So when I moved into a new position or location the sound vibrations in the half-sphered room played tricks with me.”

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

After many trips from his apartment to the bunker over the course of a year, it was finally show time. “Erik brushed off the dust and made the last night epic and magic,” Hannes recalls. “He had a tent that we put over the entrance to the bunker, filled it with candle lights and much much more. He really pulled much of the tough work and I’m forever grateful for how successful the night became.”

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

The plan was for guests to keep warm by a bonfire a hundred meters away and for Hannes to invite them in small groups to come see the installation below. “I told them to be careful because of all the burning candles,” he says about the possibility of hair catching on fire in the close quarters. “I myself accidentally started a fire the night before when I lit a candle that was too close to the wall. Not much damage done although there was much smoke.”

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

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Hannes Tirén. (screenshot from video © Erik & Nils Petter)

 

Have a look at another hidden underground oasis project from last year by Erik Vestment & Nils Petter, who debuted their project “The Pier” last June here on BSA.

 

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