Oslo’s Quirky Statues. Vigeland Park and Beyond

with 13 Comments

We started our day in Oslo by lazily strolling through the park surrounding the theater. We had glimpsed a few statues here the night before as we were going towards our hotel, and as the park was in the nearby vicinity, we decided that it would be an interesting start point for the 16th day of our Interrail journey. 
Nevertheless, we found far more sculptures than previously suspected, nicely combined with the lush vegetation of the little park. 
    
Soon though our attention was drawn towards the nearby Town Hall. I must say this is one of the most intriguing town halls I’ve ever seen. For starters, just before the entrance, there are 16 beautifully carved wooden friezes inspired from the Nordic mythology. 
Once we entered the building though, we encountered huge spaces, interior fountains and floor to ceiling wall paintings inspired from the local traditions and customs. However, there was a little bit more nakedness depicted in these paintings that I would have expected to encounter in a town hall. This was probably the first hint. 
The second hint was this quirky statue in the little garden not far away from the Town Hall, on the way to the harbor. What stroke me was the commonness of this guys activity. This is no celebration of the human body and no expression of feelings. This poor guy is simply thirsty and he is putting at ease his thirst in the most natural way; except that he’s not wearing any clothes.      
We were already getting the feeling that Oslo is actually a huge art scene, and more than anything, a sculpture garden. We innocently continued our way. 

Vigeland Park is rated the nº 1 attraction in Oslo. But once we arrived there, my reaction was a bit like this woman’s.

The Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. Built in the 1940s, the park has more than 200 sculptures all by Gustav Vigeland. Supposedly these statues represent the human condition from cradle till death, but that’s not precisely what I saw here. 
What I saw was a lot of nakedness, suffering and wickedness. 
Some of Vigeland’s statues are really disturbing. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then I might have a bigger problem than previously thought. 

For me, the Monolith, supposed to represent man’s longing for divinity, was just a huge vertical mass grave. I just don’t buy the idea that evolution needs to be made on the next guy’s expense. You don’t get closer to divinity and perfection by climbing a ladder made out of you fellows, nor by kicking others around or passively waiting for it to happen. That kind of behavior is reserved more for a profane kind of ascending, not a sacred one.

And then there’s ‘Angry Boy’, the most famous sculpture in Vigeland Park, hence you can see the hand polished by the hordes of tourists who insisted to take a picture with this little guy. All the savageness and evilness we as human race are capable of is shown on this baby’s face. Not really something to be proud of…

There’s little to none compassion and love shown in this life journey. Everything is a struggle.

And babies are passed around with utter easiness. 
There’s also a small part of the park dedicated to newborns posing in different positions…
And desperate people who definitely want more from life. 
And dragons doing dragon stuff with beautiful ladies against their will…

Of course, you might see these statues in a different light. But this is Vigeland’s world seen through my eyes. Not my favourite world I must say.
However, in spite of all the suffering locked in bronze and granite, the park is a relaxing and happy place. Nobody seemed to notice the atrocities going on in front of their eyes. I guess the eyes see only what you want to see… And a bit of nature’s beauty makes everything all right once again.

We finally left Vigeland Park for a more peaceful atmosphere. We found these zen girl singing for her bird friends in the park surrounding the Royal Palace. 

And these cute trolls in front of a souvenir shop…
And in the evening we went back to the harbor area to see the sunset.
Our next destination was Bergen

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13 Responses

  1. I love the mix of art and nature!

  2. dtravelsround
    | Reply

    I love the statues!! So enchanting!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      As I said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder 🙂

  3. Angela
    | Reply

    Quirky indeed, and creepy!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      I totally agree, they creeped me out!

  4. Cathy Sweeney
    | Reply

    Quirky and disturbing sculptures are right up my alley. Looks like Oslo would be a good place for me to visit. Interesting meaning of the Monolith and your thoughts about it.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Well then Cathy, you really must visit Oslo soon. It's the city of sculptures.

  5. Andrea
    | Reply

    These are really interesting! Will definitely have to check out this park when we finally get to Oslo.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      You have't been to Oslo yet? I could have bet you have!

  6. Rahman Mehraby
    | Reply

    They are so great and create such fabulous feelings in one that you come to think of human beings as they are without anything added from outside,including clothes.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      That's an interesting point of view…

  7. I love them!!! Makes the town have such an interesting vibe.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Interesting, yes! Peaceful, no!

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