Oslo, City of Sculpture - FAD Magazine

FAD Magazine

FAD Magazine covers contemporary art – News, Exhibitions and Interviews reported on from London

Oslo, City of Sculpture


Edward Munch, very much a painter, is easily Norway’s most famous artist, and a new 13-floor building – ‘Munch’ as it is styled – was recently opened in his honour. Walking around Oslo, though, it would be easy to think that sculpture is the national preference: statues dot the streets and I visited four sculpture parks. For example:

Monica Bonvicini: ‘She Lies’ 2010. The Italian’s permanent installation of steel and glass, prominent in the aerial view from the top of Munch’s, shifts with the tides. Her three dimensional  interpretation of ‘The Sea of Ice’, 1823-24, refers back to how Caspar David Friedrich’s represents the power and magnificence of the north, while suggesting both a ship and an iceberg – as if some freak of global warming has brought one into the harbour. Bonvicini sees it as symbolising change by standing for ‘a permanent state of erection/construction’, which I guess played more directly before Munch was finished.

The Vigeland Park (top and above) contains over 600 somewhat Rodinesque figures spread across 192 sculptures, modelled in full greater-than-life size without assistants, then passed to artisans to carve in granite or cast in bronze. Gustav Vigeland is good at the active coming-together of figures with each other or animals or – in his most original move – trees. It’s a popular attraction, even though he missed the chance to apply his skills to sexual interaction…

Ann-Sofi Siden: ‘Fideicommissum’ 2000. This self-portrait strikes an oppositional note in the Ekeberg Sculpture Park, which overlooks the city and contains many statues of women made by men. As she crouches to gain relief, a stream of liquid emerges every few minutes. I assume it’s water, but what Siden is implicitly pissing on – according to the title – is the Scandinavian equivalent of the rule of primogeniture.

Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head



Related Posts

Paul’s Gallery of the Week: Tate Britain

Tate Britain opened as the National Gallery of British Art on the site of the former Millbank Prison in 1897, but soon became commonly known as the Tate Gallery, after its founder Sir Henry Tate.

Paul's Gallery of the Week: Camden Art Centre

Paul’s Gallery of the Week: Camden Art Centre

Camden Art Centre, founded in a former library building in 1965, has been in the news recently for an unwelcome reason: its annual Government funding has been cut by more than a third, from £937,000 to £600,000.

Trending Articles

Join the FAD newsletter and get the latest news and articles straight to your inbox

* indicates required