After serving as Norway’s Foreign Minister during the critical years of World War Two, Trygve Lie was elected the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. In September 2016, a public artwork by Norwegian artist Lina Visle Grønli, the Peace Clock, was unveiled visible from across First Avenue and the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. You find the Peace Clock in New York at the Trygve Lie Plaza.
The Peace Clock is an abstract kinetic sculpture which does not tell time in a traditional manner; only the hour hand moves, forming the peace sign twice a day at 4:30. In this way UN’s ongoing mission is connecting with Lina Visle Grønli’s lifelong aspiration of universal peace and freedom. The Trygve Lie Plaza is a small and relaxing block-long park.
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The Story Behind the Norwegian Peace Clock in New York
The Peace Clock was commissioned by New York City with support from the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Trygve Lie’s family and other generous donors.
“Situated across from the United Nations building, Lina Viste Grønli’s Peace Clock reminds us that peace is not something we can take for granted,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl at the ceremony in 2016. “Thanks to our partners in the Norwegian Consulate and NYC Parks, this tribute to the visionary UN leader Trygve Lie will serve both as a powerful symbol for international collaboration, and an urgent call to action for everyone who encounters it.”
Time is always offering the opportunity to achieve world peace
Inspired by the history of the UN’s formation and Lie’s dedication to peace and fundamental human freedom, Grønli’s clock stands as a reminder that time is both fleeting and infinite, always.
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Lina Viste Grønli (b. 1976 in Bergen) grew up in Stavanger and currently lives and works on the East Coast of the United States. Her work engages language, semiotics, and sculptural strategies. She explores collective references and challenges conceptual understanding. Grønli has exhibited at a number of renowned institutions for contemporary art in Norway and internationally, including Sculpture Center, NYC.
The Story Behind the Norwegian Peace Clock in New York, written by Tor Kjolberg