HUGGING silver figures suspended in mid-air. It was the photograph I saw flipping through an in-flight magazine on my way to Europe. It was in Oslo, Norway. Lucky, the city was in my itinerary. In that instance, the recently opened national heritage park of Ekeberg displaced Frogenparken from the top slot. I was not leaving the city until I see it. And I did, on the morning of the day of my departure.
Ekebergparken is unique, an outdoor museum. It’s a trek through the historic, hilly forest of Ekeberg where Iron Age grave mounds and Bronze Age ritual sites lie. The sculptures spread across the 63-hectare park are the treats, so to speak. Your curiosity, if not the love for art, makes you seek out the next piece. If completed, then it’s a day’s worth of cardiovascular exercise and a priceless addition to treasured memories.
When the sculptural park on Oslo-owned property was inaugurated in September 2013 through the initiative and financing of art collector Christian Ringnes, there were 31 sculptures installed, all owned by the man’s foundation.
Of the 31, I knew it was the published image that I had to see first. I viewed the oscillating tightly hugging silver figures hovering between trees, glistening in the morning sun from afar, near and under. Louise Bourgeois’ “The Couple” in aluminum was larger than life.
The other figure I sought out was in silver, a figure of a curvaceous, full-figured sensual woman. The image it represented is recognizable to many and British artist Richard Hudson’s is successful in that aspect. His organic art style molded a “Marilyn Monroe” from stainless steel.
The third sculpture in painted bronze might just be the most popular among the lot maybe because it’s along the walking path and anyone can “walk with it”, maybe because it’s so lifelike down to the detail of beads of perspiration or because it’s surprisingly tall for a woman who strides through the woods with intention. Sean Henry’s 7-footer “Walking Woman” attempts to heighten the spectator’s awareness of art and the nature around it.
One can’t help go near Diane Maclean’s “Open Book”. Standing in front of her artwork, I became part of her piece as the pages reflected an image of me standing before a forest. This was what Maclean wanted to project— “blending books and knowledge with nature and its landscapes.”
What I thought I would only see inside a museum can be found here, exposed to the elements. With the 21st century artworks are the older bronze pieces of the masters— Auguste Renoir’s 1914 “Venus Victrix” and 1917 “La grande laveuse”; Auguste Rodin’s 1881 “Eva” and the “Cariatide tombee a l’urne”; and Salvador Dali’s “Venus Milo aux tiroirs.”
With funding set aside, the Ekibergparken is planning to acquire more pieces to total 80 sculptures in the future. With this year’s plan to add more trails, water details plus the addition of 25 new sculptures, it would be an exciting thought to revisit this park soon.
From a page on a magazine to real time, Ekiberparken- checked.
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