The saga of what is probably Norway's most publicized bust in recent years continues. When the Longyearbyen Community Council (LL) decided get rid of the bust of the former Store Norske administrative director, Steve Daldorff Torgersen was one of those who wanted to acquire it. He wanted it for Karlsberger Pub, which he owns.
But LL ultimately chose to give the bust to Svalbard Museum and it is now in storage until there is a suitable opportunity to set it out.
'Psst, I have one, too'
Torgersen doesn't deny he was disappointed when LL decided to put the bust of the corrupt, but very popular, former director into the storage area at Svalbard Museum. But it was not long before a very prominent figure in the bust issue came up with a solution.
"Robert Hermansen came to me when he was at the book launch in Longyearbyen and whispered in my ear that one more bust exists," Torgersen said.
Hermansen himself was in possession of the second bust, which is an exact copy of the one that stood in the municipal building and was also designed by sculptor Per Ung. In October, Torgersen traveled to Hermansen's home in Tromsø and was presented with the bust.
Will put in KB
"Robert Hermansen has given me bust and I will use it the way I want," Torgersen said. "I have decided that it will be placed in KB – in the mine atmosphere that has been created there over a number of years."
Is this a business move to create an attraction for the pub?
"It was not the business that first got me to apply for the bust," Torgersen said. "There was extensive writings regarding the bust and the undignified position it had before. That got me to offer KB as a space where the bust could stand until further notice. Now there will nevertheless still be a bust of Robert at KB, which is good. And if residents or people visiting the city want to visit Robert at KB, that of course is also just as nice."
It's not clear when the bust of Hermansen will be set up at KB. But the owner said he hopes it will be before Christmas.