I remember that Sunday, three weeks back, for FK 2010 participants, our diary read Introduction to Norwegian Society. It started at the Museum and finally ended at this park we all nick named nude park. Its called Vigeland Sculpture park.
Being a weekend afternoon, the park is full of activities, tourists, students, locals and lovebirds taking a leisurely walk. It´s one of the artistic highlights of Norway based in Oslo. The park contains 192 sculptures with more than 600 figures, all modeled in full size by Gustav Vigeland without the assistance of pupils or other artists. Vigeland also designed the architectural setting and the layout of the grounds.
I gather that the initial point of the park sculptures was the Fountain. A model was presented in 1907 to the city council and Gustav Vigeland was commissioned to make a Fountain. But as the time passed and not enough money was raised yet, Vigeland added many more sculptures to the project – granite sculptures that eventually were placed around the later Monolith.
“I was a sculptor before I was born. I was driven and lashed onward by powerful forces outside myself. There was no other path, and no matter how hard I might have tried to find one, I would have been forced back again.” He would say this several time when asked about his expertise in creative sculpture. All the sculptures are human figures, it’s believed he has tried to bring out human emotion from childbirth to death! In 1924, the City of Oslo decided that the whole project should be fulfilled in the Frogner Park, later called Vigeland Park. For the rest of his life, Vigeland continued to model new sculptures for the park until his death in 1943. I am sure he died a happy man, his legacy lives forever.
But why on earth would one decide to make nude sculptures? It´s a question that we couldn´t answer even after 2 hours at the park. My male colleagues were a bit concerned, as to why Vigeland made more male sculptures, a question am sure he will have answered better if he was alive today. We made a number of jokes and you can be sure all sort of things were said about each sculpture.
I finally do my research just to gather that all the sculptures have different meaning. Monolith (Pic 1 of the 7 above) consists of inert bodies at the bottom and as it raises up, it is covered by small children. Various interpretations of the Monolith have been suggested: Man’s resurrection, the struggle for existence, man’s yearning for spiritual spheres, the transcendence of everyday life and cyclic repetition. Unbelievable!
(Pic 2 of the 7 above) Refered to as the ” Wheel of Life” connects men , women and children through happiness, sadness, disappointment, anger and fear. It shows the depth of human life.
(Pic 3 of the 7 above) Shows fatherhood and responsibility. Fathers should be ready to provide, protect and take care of their kids.
(Pic 4 of the 7 above) This has been documented as the most photographed sculpture in the park. It is artistically sculptured, but nobody knows why this little boy is crying. Neither were we able to tell why the boy was crying. Maybe he was a bit cold keeping in mind the cold weather in Norway and he has to stay naked even during winter.
(Pic 5 of the 7 above) Depicts lovebirds expressing love for one another as part of an important phase of human life.
Above Right (Responsibility) This sculpture depicts the lives of many first borns who are in most cases given the responsibility of taking care of their siblings. For instance, Vigeland did this sculpture as an expression of his responsibility over his siblings after his father died.
This park is said to be the main tourist attraction site in Norway. So when you get a chance to visit Norway, remember to create time and visit Vigeland Park otherwise known as Vigelandsparken in Norwegian.