Swedes size up pavilion

Tensta Kuntsthall art gallery director Maria Lind (centre) with teacher and artist Thomas Elovsson and Peter Geschwind, professor of fine art at  Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.
Tensta Kuntsthall art gallery director Maria Lind (centre) with teacher and artist Thomas Elovsson and Peter Geschwind, professor of fine art at Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

SWEDISH artists visited Peterlee yesterday to see the real-life version of a controversial landmark they hope to replicate as part of a prestigious overseas exhibition.

Renowned Swedish artist Peter Geschwind, a senior professor at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, wants to copy every detail of the Peterlee-based Pasmore’s Apollo Pavilion, which has divided the local community.

It will be a focal point of an exhibition to be held at the Tensta Kuntsthall art gallery, in Spenga, Sweden, in the autumn.

Mr Geschwind attracted quite a crowd when he visited the Sunny Blunts-based pavilion with the art gallery’s director Maria Lind to meet members of the Apollo Pavilion Community Association (APCA) and to discuss the structure.

APCA members plan an exchange visit.

The 1969-built concrete pavilion was designed using Scandinavian styles of architecture and a lot of homes in Sweden are similar to those in Peterlee, with flat roofs.

The art gallery was built in the 1970s, based on futuristic design such as cubism.

APCA project manager Alison Lister said: “What they are thinking of is recreating the Apollo Pavilion in the exhibition area in their town, probably not exactly to scale.

“They are doing it as an imaginary history of what their town will be like in the future, as if there has been an archeological dig.

“Their town has no central focus of this nature, and they see the Apollo Pavilion as something they can aspire to and be uncovered for subsequent generations.”

APCA chairman David Taylor-Gooby added: “Our visitors were very impressed and young people from Peterlee came along and spoke to them, and local television was also here.

“Two representatives from St Cuthbert’s Church also came and explained about plans for developing the church and ideas about Peterlee.

“We are looking to go and visit them.”

In 1955, Victor Pasmore was appointed consulting director of architectural design of the Peterlee Development Corporation.

He chose to design the town around a central abstract artwork and pavilion, eventually naming it the Apollo Pavilion.