Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gustav Vigeland..

A friend of mine from England turned me onto the norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) about three years ago. I was already pretty deep into the idea of constructing larger forms from individual figures(something I saw during my time in Indonesia), but this influence really set me on my present course. I don't have a strong desire to work in sculpture, but I think that the solid drawing principles that I admire have a sculptural quality. It's all about weight, and Gustav is a prime example. EVERYTHING he did has immense weight.. you can feel it pressing against the earth! Ironically, the monolith configuration he has constructed are totally impossible to perform in reality, but his representation of the action makes it believable. When you're seeking to create the bizarre, it's effective to construct things in a believable way. The most strange things are best to illustrate within reality, otherwise you risk venturing into that fantasy world, and inevitably lose grounding and meaning. A piece from Sculpture Park in Oslo on the left by Vigeland, and one of my "columns" street art from 05 on the right.
Interestingly, very little of his sculptures have left Norway, partly due to a contract Vigeland made with the city of Oslo in 1921. He was given a large studio 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 work is astonishing. The park contains 192 sculptures in granite and bronze, with more than 600 figures. Then there's a museum, housed in a building originally erected as studio and home which includes some 1600 sculptures, 12,000 drawings and 400 woodcuts. Check out Vigelands work, perhaps it will inspire you like it did me!


  1. These sculptures are magnificent! They are very impressive especially because of the scale of some of the ones you've posted. But I thought you might find this interesting...miniature sculptures. ON THE TIPS OF PENCILS. Have you heard about Dalton Ghetti? I read about it in UK news! Here's a link if you want to read up on it, it's so crazy.