On the landscapes of a few select locations in Eastern Norway, sculptures by well-known contemporary artists have appeared, and makes your rest stops even more rewarding.
In the project Skulpturstopp (Sculpture stop), several accomplished artists are invited to make sculptures in counties throughout Eastern Norway. The artists choose the location and create their sculptures specifically for the site.
In this way the site becomes a part of the artwork. For visitors this is an opportunity to combine the experiences of art and nature in beautiful harmony.
Sculpturestopp is an initiative by and under the management of Sparebankstiftelsen DNB. The aim of the project is to bring sculptures of a high international caliber to Eastern Norway. Sparebankstiftelsen DNB wants to bring art to the people as a means of contributing to increased awareness and knowledge about art.
Dan Graham (b, 1942) is an American contemporary artist whose artistic fields include sculpture, video, performance and architecture. He was one of the leading figures in the avant-garde art scene in New York during the early 1970s, along with both Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark. Graham’s politically oriented and conceptual art projects have been highly influential on subsequent generations of artists, in both Europe and the USA.
Vågå in Gudbrandsdalen is a municipality in the county of Oppland, Norway. It is a gateway to Jotunheimen National Park.
A typical feature of Dan Graham’s sculptures is that they provide an extra dimension to the experience of nature. Graham visited many locations before choosing the site at Lake Lemonsjøen. For him it was important to locate the work in a location where people pass, so that it would be seen, and that it would be close to water. In this way nature is reflected in the water, which in turn is reflected in the surfaces of the artwork.
Dan Graham’s sculpture, or pavilion, is located on the banks of Lake Lemonsjøen in the municipality of Vågå. The artwork in wood and glass reflects the surrounding landscape and gives the viewer different experiences as one moves around the structure. With this sculpture Graham questions how we, the spectators, observe. The sculpture is made of glass and mirrored walls to let the spectator see both their own reflection and the reflection of the landscape. In this way the viewers become a part of the artwork.
Through his sculptures Dan Graham explores a current issue with regards to how art is created today; what is the role of the spectator when viewing art? Graham’s approach is based upon the sculptural structure of the artwork. He considers his own works as instruments allowing you to see and be seen.
Gitte Dæhlin (1956-2012) was a Norwegian artist. She lived in Mexico for several periods in 1978 – 2012. Inspired by the Native Indians she made busts, sculptures and heads from organic materials, such as boiled palm leaves mixed with glue, paper and chalk. Dæhlin also worked with drawing and painting.
Dæhlin passed away 2. december 2012, only 56 years old. Sparebankstiftelsen DNB is grateful for the opportunity to work with this remarkable artist.
Sør-Fron is a municipality in the county of Oppland, Norway. The municipality extends on both sides of Gudbrandsdalen, from Rondane in the east to Valdres in the west.
The landscape of Sør-Fron is quite different from that of Mexico where the sculptures were created. Gitte Dæhlin feels, however, that there are similarities, like for example the surrounding mountains. She also sees cultural similarities, for example in the music and the myths. She was pleased with the location of the figures in Gudbrandsdalen.
21 figures cast in bronze look out over the river Gudbrandsdalslågen from a field near the medieval farm Sygard Grytting in the municipality of Sør-Fron, Norway. Visitors to the farm might expect to see a herd of sheep grazing but see instead a group of tall elegant bodies.
The figures have glass eyes. They appear relatively similar, but at the same time different. They form a group and each one is unique. Dæhlin hopes that the figures will spark our curiosity and set in motion our thought processes.
“Displaying art in unconventional ways and in unexpected locations encourages a new way of interpreting both the art and our surroundings,” said Dæhlin
Dæhlin is known for creating sculptures that are rich in color and textural effect, both expressive and suggestive. FLOKK was made in Mexico. The figures were molded in clay with steel reinforcement. Wax castings were produced from the clay figures. Finally the sculptures were cast in bronze. Upon completion they were shipped to Sør-Fron where they currently stand looking out over the landscape and the river Gudbrandsdalslågen.
The artwork Mothership with Standing Matter is a sculpture designed by Antony Gormley. It is situated inside a pavilion designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta.
Antony Gormley (b. 1950) is an accomplished British sculptor. Since the early1980s he has mainly created works taking the human body as his subject. He often uses his own body as mold for the sculptures. His most known works however, are of a much larger scale than his own body; for example the enormous Angel of the North (1998) located in Gateshead, England. Gormley works with several different materials such as clay, fiberglass, cast iron, steel, metal, and granite.
Lillehammer is both a municipality and a town in the county of Oppland, Norway. It is located at the northern end of Lake Mjøsa. The town is the administrative centre of Oppland county. Lillehammer hosted the 1994 Winter Olympic Games.
The location of Mothership with Standing Matter in Lillehammer was important since this is also the location of one of Snøhetta’s first large projects, namely the Lillehammer Museum of Art. Gormley also wanted his artwork to be situated in an urban location where people move around. In this respect, Jernbaneparken in Lillehammer was an ideal location.
Mothership with Standing Matter is located at Jernbaneparken in Lillehammer and is the first thing that people see upon arriving to the city by train. The sculpture by Antony Gormley stands upright inside a concrete pavilion.
Through this sculpture Gormley explores the relationship of the human body to space at large. The sculpture in Mothership with Standing Matter measures 190 cm in height. It doesn’t have a uniform cohesive shape, but is comprised of steel balls of various sizes. This gives it an ephemeral and transparent expression. Some of the balls have accidently fallen off the sculpture and scattered onto the floor. It is as if the sculpture is about to disintegrate. The sculpture’s placement inside a compact room creates an effective contrast to the sculpture’s evolving character.
“When I grew up in North London during the postwar era, everything had to be rational and functional. Today there’s more room to integrate art into the society, and I’m proud to be a part of this,” says Gormley.
Jernbaneparken in Lillehammer is a good location for the sculpture since it allows large numbers of people to experience the artwork. Gormley uses his works in different ways to question people’s function and role in society; their relationship to one another either in hectic urban situations or in more deserted, remote locations.
The British artist Richard Deacon (b. 1949) is internationally well-known and has won a series of prizes. In 1987 he won the Turner Prize which is awarded annually to a British artist. His public sculptures are to be found throughout the entire world.
Deacon often employs different materials in his sculptures: wood, steel, aluminum, iron, marble, vinyl and leather. Independent of his choice of materials, Deacon works within an abstract expression, often with organic forms. The sculptures can produce associations of anatomical and uniquely human features in the viewer.
A city centre, a rural village and nature constitute the municipality of Gjøvik in Oppland, located right by Mjøsa. The municipality is a leader in industry. The iron and metal industry is important in the municipality and the factory O.Mustad & Søn is known as the world’s largest manufacturer of fish hooks.
Gjøvik also has a rich outdoor and cultural life. Fjellhallen was built for the 1994 Winter Olympics and since the installation of two new climbing walls in 2008, this has become one of inland Norway’s best climbing centers.
In Gripping we find references to industry, to the factory O.Mustad & Søn and to Fjellhallen, as Deacon also emphasizes:
“The space between these constructed climbing walls was particularly fascinating to me and could perhaps be characterized as exemplifying or analogizing the gap between nature and culture, image and object. The richness of metaphorical associations between fish hooks, hair grips, pins, paper clips and nails is breath-taking.”
Gripping is enthroned in front of Fjellhallen in Gjøvik. Created in an abstract artistic idiom, at first glance it appears to be virtually an undifferentiated mass. It does not depict a specific shape and if we approach and move around it, it gives the impression of being composed of different elements that have been melted together.
Associations of stone and mountains are immediate, and Gripping can be viewed as a site-specific commentary. Fjellhallen is known for its climbing walls and the sculpture’s title Gripping emphasizes a requisite when climbing: maintaining a firm grasp on the hand- and footholds. But references to the factory O.Mustad & Søn in Gjøvik are also hidden in the title. The factory produces fish hooks, paper clips and nails, objects that are designed to grip and hold. And although we cannot see it directly, the climbing walls, the paper clips and the fish hooks are all elements in the artwork, melted into a composite whole. The forms, functions and variations of hooks and fastenings created the background for Deacon’s work with the sculpture.
Gripping is made of sand cast aluminum, and also the choice of materials carries with it references to fish hooks and paper clips from O.Mustad & Søn.
“All of these things are metamorphosed from metal wire. Indeed, the ability to be drawn into wire is one of the defining characteristics of metal.”
With Gripping Deacon has virtually done the reverse: combined all of the different objects into what greets us in front of Fjellhallen: an abstract and multifaceted sculpture that offers new impressions from every angle.
Sverre Wyller (b.1953) is a Norwegian artist who works with painting and sculpture. He received his education at the Oslo School of Architecture and the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, and the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
Wyller has created several public art works, including the sculpture Miramichi # 19 which stands outside The Vigeland Museum in Oslo. A typical feature of Wyller’s sculptures is the abstract and organic expression. With powerful, twisting and turning steel beams, the sculptures often recall living creatures.
Østre Toten in Oppland County is one of Norway’s largest agricultural municipalities and is particularly well-known for the production of potatoes and onions. Industry also has a clear presence in the municipality.
Allium derives a deep connection to Østre Toten through Wyller’s implementation of reused steel from AS Oppland Metall. The sculpture was produced at Kai Gran’s steel workshop in Kolbu, and with its onion-like form Allium imbibes Østre Toten’s status as a farming municipality and onion producer.
“I wanted a site that was in contact with Mjøsa and the surrounding landscape. It was also critical that there was a local source for the materials used in the project,” Wyller says.
Peder Balke-senteret gallery and culture center is situated close by the sculpture.
Allium is situated on a gravel road that leads up towards the Billerud Farm, with a view over Mjøsa. With one part on each side of the road, it acquires the role of a portal to the old estate, formerly a residence for high-ranking public officials with wall paintings by Peder Balke. The sculpture is 15 metres high and is made of reused steel. It is lacquered in a light blue colour that Wyller has used on several of his sculptures.
The word allium (Latin) means onion and the sculpture’s form is inspired by the farming of Østre Toten. The sculpture is conceived as a line drawing of an onion and lies in the landscape like an onion on a tray in a classical still life. The portal is positioned on the diagonal across the gravel road, so that the sculpture’s largest volume is clearly visible from the county highway above. Locally the sculpture has been given the nickname Lauken (“The Onion”) and has assumed the role of an identity symbol in the surrounding community.
Used materials are important for Wyller because the materials’ history gives the art work meaning.
“The steel has been used, it has been degraded, now it has been revitalized and gains once more a significance and status. Steel that has been used before bears the mark of this. But the form is new – and thereby the meaning,” says Sverre Wyller.
Internationally renowned and award winning Rachel Whiteread is the artist behind The Gran Boathouse.
Rachel Whiteread (b. 1963) is one of Great Britain’s leading contemporary artists. In 1993 she was the first woman to win the prestigious Turner Prize. Whiteread is connected to Young British Artists, a group which started exhibiting in London in 1988, and which includes Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin. Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures are often casts of everyday objects. Her sculptures are typically casts of “negative space”. The Gran Boathouse is her first work in Norway.
Gran is a municipality in the southern part of the county of Oppland, by the fjord Randsfjorden.
Rachel Whiteread was asked to make a sculpture in Gran municipality. She had for some time wanted to work with smaller buildings in remote places. Røykenviken in the municipality of Gran was the kind of peaceful location she had been looking for. The boathouse and its interior had the qualities she was after. It represents the history of the place. This sculpture is preserving what would otherwise have been lost.
The Gran Boathouse is located on the waters edge in Røykenviken, Hadeland. From a distance it looks like any other boathouse, but closer inspection reveals that this is a work of art in concrete. The work is a cast of the interior of an old boathouse. Whiteread turns the boathouse inside out thereby capturing a moment in time. In this way she encourages us to reflect on what we see around us.
“I have mummified the air inside the boathouse,” says Rachel Whiteread. “I wanted to make a shy sculpture, a sculpture that would stand there peaceful and nobel.” The boathouse and its interior had all the qualities that she was looking for. It represented the history of place. The sculpture is preserving what would otherwise have been lost.
Rachel Whiteread is known for her sculptures, which are often casts of everyday objects, everything from bath tubs, boxes, and cabinets to rooms and entire buildings. Her work is characterised by “negative space”. The work is not a cast of the object, but of the empty space inside or under the object.
Marianne Heske (b. 1946) is one of Norway’s most renowned artists. She uses traditional graphical techniques, photography, collage, and installations in her work. Her video paintings have attracted a great deal of attention, both locally and internationally. Heske has been a pioneer of conceptual art in Norway, art where the idea behind the work constitutes the medium and the realization. The doll’s head is a recurring theme in her work. Heske has carried out several public art projects and is well- represented in museums and collections.
Torshovdalen is located in the district of Sagene in the municipality of Oslo. The valley stretches from Trondheimsveien to the east, Sinsenkrysset to the north, and Torshov to the west.
When Sparebankstiftelsen DNB invited Marianne Heske to create a sculpture she chose Torshovdalen in Oslo. According to Heske, the valley is a marvel, beautiful and anonymous.
The valley deserves recognition, with a public place where people can gather, similar to the amphitheaters of ancient times.
From its location in Torshovdalen in Oslo, the HEAD looks out over the city and the fjord. From a distance the artwork arouses curiosity. Closer inspection reveals a large sculpture and an amphitheater.
HEAD N.N is an enlargement of a doll’s head which Marianne Heske bought at a flea market in Paris in 1971. The doll’s head has since become an important metaphor in her artistic development. The HEAD measures 7 meters in height and is cast in bronze.
On the surface of the doll’s head there are red lines and numbers. These are derived from phrenology, an obsolete pseudoscience from the 1800s. According to phrenology our abilities and traits are related to specific areas of the brain´s surface. The lines and figures are inspired by illustrations showing the location of various abilities and senses.
“The head is hollow, so there’s room for big thoughts. Those thoughts come from one’s own head – a ‘think tank’,” says Heske.
Marianne Heske’s intention behind the artwork is to let the public use HEAD N.N. and let their thoughts flow freely.
The amphitheater in Torshovdalen is intended to be a place where one can sit and have a clear view of both the sculpture and Oslo fjord. Almost like watching a puppet show.
More Sculpture Stops are planned erected in Eastern Norway.
Sculptures Around Norway, source: Skulpturstopp
Feature image (on top): From Ekeberg Sculpture Park, Oslo (Photo Tor Kjolberg)