Saturday, 25 August 2012

“I shall never account, verbally, for the excesses of my sentiment.  Having said nothing of the ravages of this anxiety, I can always, once it has passed, reassure myself that no one has guessed anything.  The power of language: with my language I can do everything: even and especially say nothing. 

I can do everything with my language, but not with my body.  What I hide by my language, my body utters.  I can deliberately mold my message, not my voice.  By my voice, whatever it says, the other will recognize “that something is wrong with me.”  I am a liar (by preterition), not an actor.  My body is a stubborn child, my language is a very civilized adult…”

—Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

Monday, 20 August 2012

A $100 Weekend in Oslo

Sunday, 19 August 2012

International Sand Sculpture Festival

From May 31 to August 5, one of the most spectacular sand sculpture events in North Europe is taking place in Copenhagen. Twenty-one sand sculptures built from 3,000 tons of sand rise up to 10 metres in height in the popular harbour area.

The festival is located on Ofelia Beach at Nyhavn surrounded by port channels, The Royal Palace Amalienborg, The Royal Playhouse and the Opera House - which all add a fantastic architectural frame and background to the sculptures. The sculptures are created by some of the world’s most talented sand artists, thirty sand artists participate.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Astrup Fearnley Museet - Oslo

From 1 January Astrup Fearnley Museet has closed its current premises in Dronningensgate. On 29 September 2012 the Museum reopens at Tjuvholmen in Oslo, in a new museum building designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano.

During one of Renzo Piano's visit to Oslo the museum's curator Hanne Beate Ueland interviewed the architect behind some of the greatest art museums of our era.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

"William James wrote (in Principles of Psychology in 1890): “In youth we may have an absolutely new experience, subjective or objective, every hour of the day. Apprehension is vivid, retentiveness strong, and our recollections of that time, like those of a time spent in rapid and interesting travel, are of something intricate, multitudinous and long-drawn-out. But as each passing year converts some of this experience into automatic routine which we hardly note at all, the days and the weeks smooth themselves out in recollection to contentless units…” Life seems to speed up as we get older because life gets less memorable as we get older"
( Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

i don't know why i like it so much
isn't it beautiful?

“The home should be the treasure chest of living.”

 Le Corbusier quotes (Swiss Architect and city planner, whose designs combine the functionalism of the modern movement with a bold, sculptural expressionism. 1887-1965)

Sunday, 5 August 2012


 "Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain" (Billie Holiday)

Gustav Vigeland

Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943)

Gustav Vigeland was born in Mandal in southern Norway 11 April 1869 and died in Oslo 12 March 1943. His funeral was held in Vestre krematorium in Oslo 19 March, and his cinerary urn was, according to his wishes, placed in the small circular tower in his home at Frogner. The same building opened as the Vigeland Museum in 1947.

Gustav Vigeland is important in Norwegian art history. His artistic work contributed to promote the position of sculpture in his home country. Vigeland's monumental sculpture park at Frogner in Oslo, the Vigeland Park, is the world's largest sculpture park accomplished by one single artist.

The focus point of this park is the monolith, which stand in the middle of the park. He started to create the monolith in 1929 and completed in 1943.The monolith represents all of humanity. It is 18 meter (60 foot) height. 121 colossal human figures carved in one piece of stone. It depicts the cycle of life 

 "That two bodies press convulsively together, man and woman, he fertilizing her, he giving her a budding life, or he planting a seed, a seed of life in her womb - Oh God. I think this God-given idea is so enormous, so eternal, so endlessly wise - that people should not be allowed to depict it in art!!" this was written by Gustav Vigeland in his notebook on February 04 1896.

Vigeland park is situated in the district of Oslo called Frogner. This large park is a home for 227 granite and bronze sculptures by Norway's celebrated sculptor Gusrav Vigeland. Gusrav Vigeland was born on 11th of April 1869 in Mandal, a small coastal town of Southern Norway. His father was a master carpenter in Norway.

This park is built on 30 hectare (75acre) land.

Gusrav Vigeland studied in Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris and Italy. He got a scholarship to study gothic art in France for one year.

 "Wheel of Life" connects men , women and children through happiness, sadness, disappointment, anger and fear. It shows the depth of human life.

Most of the sculptures were created in between 1926-1942.

Gustav Vigeland has written on an undated drawing that "He who is once bitten by love's snake, never heal"


Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) is a Norwegian sculptor whose work portrays the full range of the human life cycle and the wonderful diversity of intimate relationships among men, women and children of all ages—truly the family of humankind.
I’ve long known Vigeland’s sculpture in photographs, but until this fall had never seen any in person. Very little of it has left Norway, partly due to an extraordinary contract Vigeland made with the city of Oslo in 1921. He was given a new and capacious studio and home near the center of the city, and in exchange, he agreed to bequeath to Oslo all works in his possession as well as all original models of future sculptures. He lived and worked there from 1924 until his death in 1943. Over that enormously productive 20 years, with Vigeland’s design and direction, grew an 80-acre sculpture park and museum entirely devoted to his work.
The sheer scope of Vigeland’s creative accomplishment is astonishing. The park contains 192 sculptures in granite and bronze, with more than 600 figures. The museum—housed in the building originally erected as studio and home—includes some 1600 sculptures, 12,000 drawings and 400 woodcuts.
Vigeland designed the park in the likeness of a classical European formal garden: two long and wide gravel walk ways set perpendicularly to each other. Sculptures are grouped largely on one axis, gathered along a bridge, around a large fountain, and leading up stone steps to the tall, visually arresting centerpiece, Vigeland’s “monolith,” a column of 121 intertwined naked figures rising to a height of over 17 meters.
In the warmer months of temperate Oslo weather the formality of the garden is softened and enlivened by the green of great maple trees lining the walkways, flowing water, ivy climbing stone walls, and a profusion of flowering plants. In late autumn, the time of our visit, the effect was more stark than lovely. Profoundly embodied feelings of the pairs and groups of adults and children contrast sharply with their gray, monumental surround.
Some of that contrasting effect—unclothed intimacy in formal setting—is surely a deliberate part of Vigeland’s design. The scale of his human figures is larger than life size, their limbs and expressions deliberately stylized, heightening both drama and ambiguity.
John R. Boettiger
Vikersund, Norway
November 2005


 Gustav Vigeland has a special place in many hearts in his home country and particularly in the city of Oslo.

There in 1921 the sculptor was given a building by the city from which he would work and live for over twenty painstaking years.

He left behind him a remarkable sculpture park which serves as a testament both to the artist himself and the political and cultural renaissance of Norway.

Yet the park itself arose from a dispute.  The City of Oslo wanted to build a library.  Unfortunately the position of the new library just happened to be on the site of Vigeland’s home.  A lengthy dispute was eventually settled with the promise of a new home and workspace.  In return Vigeland committed himself to something quite extraordinary.  All of his work from there on in would be donated to the city. He was, while meticulous, prolific – perhaps Oslo got more than it originally bargained for.

As a result of this extraordinary contract between Vigeland and Oslo very little of his work has ever left Norway.  Yet if you only need one reason to visit the country – and there are many more – then his sculpture park might be just that excuse that you need.

It was certainly no small undertaking.  Eventually, by the time of Vigeland’s death in 1943 the park, which covers over 300 thousand square meters contained over two hundred sculptures by the artist.  A contemporary and friend of Rodin he experimented with modern forms of renaissance and ancient artwork.

His primary inspiration was the relationship between the two sexes, between the old and the young, between family members and the inexorable journey towards death which need not be an end in itself.  His studio in Nobels gate is close to Frogner Park (which is now mostly known as Vigeland Park).  His most famous work, the Monolith, is the culmination of his life’s work – 121 figures struggle to reach the pinnacle of the sculpture.

There is also a deep understanding here of both the conflict and the comfort which human relationships bring. The intrinsic duality of our connection with family and society is everywhere.
Vigeland’s work reveals the deep desolation which he experienced intensely all the way through his adult life. The notion of death recurs in many of his works, and his representations vary from melancholy and wretchedness to deep fondness and elation for its embrace.

Yet the park as a whole is much more about life and its journeys albeit inexorably married to death. Each group and individual sculpture represents one aspect or a specific stage in life – it is the journey of everyman represented in stone and bronze.  The nudity of the figures is, of course, symbolically intentional.  Nature and sculpture are united in a representation of humanity.  These sculptures have no shame and are unafraid of facing their own mortality.

No park would be complete without a fountain and Vigeland provides Oslo with a massive fabrication of 60 bronze reliefs.  Here we see children to skeletons who are held aloft in the sturdy arms of giant trees.  The implication is that nature is cyclical and that death brings forth new life.

Vigeland also designed the layout of the park and he did so to mirror a classical formal garden design.  This consists of two long walk ways which are set perpendicular to each other. Even the gates are a marvel.

There are contrasts implied and deliberate here. Human nature at its most terrible stands side by side with unquestioning love.  A formal park setting containing so many naked larger than life figures is one which heightens the drama of the place – and its ambiguities. The nakedness can discomfit.  In 2007 the city awoke to the bewildering site of each and every sculpture’s exposed parts covered by strips of black paper.

The sculptures are grouped on a single axis for the viewer’s ease and lead to the incredible centerpiece, the monolith.  This amazing spectacle of a column rises to over 17 meters and consists of 121 bare and intertwined figures.  The monolith totem elevates (literally) the whole circle of life message that the park conveys so fluently. Its thirty six figures illustrate the entire sequence of human life.

Although the contents of the park cover a period of over twenty years Vigeland’s creative achievement is one that can still provoke astonishment.  This was not simply an obsession, but a magnificent one.


The highlight of our Norway trip for me was the visit at the Vigeland Sculpture Park and Museum.

We started out at the Vigeland Musuem. On the second floor of the museum was Vigeland’s apartment.

We paid a little bit extra, so we could get a guided tour of the apartment! 

Since his death, the museum has preserved all of his belongings and has the apartment set up exactly as he left it. Our tour guide told us that back when Vigeland started working on the fountain (which later turned into a whole park), he made a deal with the city of Oslo. The city would pay for a space for Vigeland to work, all the supplies and assistants he needed, and an apartment above the studio as long as he gave all of his works from there on out to the city of Oslo. Pretty good deal for Vigeland, since a lot of the materials were very expensive. A stairway that leads up from his library houses an urn with his ashes and some reliefs he worked on before he died.


On the ground floor is Vigeland’s studio which now houses some of his sculptures.  In the museum we were able to see some of his earlier works and some works that are very different from the pieces in the park.  There also is a room that shows the process of making the pieces in the park. They started out being carved in clay by Vigeland, before having assistants cast them in stone or bronze. It was very tedious work as one would guess. The museum also has some of the original sculptures that are in the park. One of my favourites was to see the fountain sculpture up close. It creates a very different feeling being up close to it and seeing how large it actually is. I also enjoyed seeing the monolith up close. Since it is 17 meters tall, it is broken into three different sections and you are able to see the details much better when you can get close to each section of it.

  After the museum and apartment tour, we made our way to the park.


Now that it is beginning of the autumn, the leaves are changing colours and it makes me love the park that much more! The feel of the park has changed a little bit just with the trees and ivy changing colours. I especially liked going to the park at sunny autumn day.

Visit to the park with my husband (he is an artist) made the park even more interesting as he pointed out some things I hadn’t noticed. I also enjoyed listening to his interpretation of the different parts of the park and sculptures as well as the information (he read to me) on what Vigeland’s plans were as he was making the park.

It was a perfect day to see the park, and I can’t wait to go back once it snows and see how the vibe of the park changes again.