Wednesday, May 13, 2009

set in stone

back on may 1, which turned out to be a holiday and i was stuck in norway because That Girl booked my tickets all wrong, i used my time wisely and went to the wonderful Vigeland Park in the center of the city. it features 200+ bronze and granite statues, all done by Gustav Vigeland (at least the the clay originals--craftsmen actually did the carving and casting) in the early part of the 20th century.

for me, many of them had the larger-than-life feel of the depictions of New Soviet Man and Woman prevalent in the same period in the early soviet union. i'm sure there are many who would balk at that description, looking back as we do through the distorted lens of history, but i do think there's something of it in some of the work. but perhaps even the soviet sculptors were capturing a general zeitgeist.

most fascinating to me were the depictions of children together with their parents (presumably that's who those adults were). they are at once frozen and yet there is a sense of movement in them, like maybe you just blinked at the wrong moment and missed it, but it's still lingering in the air.


it was a gorgeous spring day and the sculpture provoked many thoughts that day. there's just something about good sculpture--it's at once static and moving, solid yet fluid, warm and lifelike yet cold. when it's really good, it captures the dynamic of life--the dichotomies and opposites present in us all.

i think that's what speaks to you from good sculpture..although it's quite literally set in stone, there is life and movement and fluidity.  there's that sense that if you blink you'll miss the movement. i feel it reminding me to be ever watchful, not to miss a thing--in life as in sculpture. to try to capture the moments and hold them in memory, although memory is more porous than stone or bronze, it doesn't really stop us from trying does it?

note:  if you're thinking that i skipped the monolith, which is perhaps the most famous one, you're right, but i'm saving it for another post. 

18 comments:

Extranjera said...

I've seen these before and they are pretty captivating. I really like the angle you caught the woman holding a child from. She actually looks like she could be the mother. Refreshing.

naqiubex said...

Err, they're naked?

Sara said...

The one in the circle looks like it might have been terribly uncomfotable to pose for. Hmm...

If you have to be stranded it does look like a nice way to spend the day!

Char said...

I love whimsical side adventures like this. Great place to explore.

Hit 40 said...

I know they should look whimsical...

Maybe it is the lack of leaves on the trees... but I find them a little scary. Could be the colors?

The 2 boys running naked... reminded me of a vietnam photo of children running naked who had their clothes burned off. They look like they are running from something.

The Fragrant Muse said...

I'll bet these are better in person. Sometimes you just have to stand in front of a statue to get it's full impact. The first time I saw Michaelangelo's 'Moses' in a tiny church in Rome, I was transfixed. I'd never felt such power from an inanimate object before.

In your last photo, I see a person swimming underwater...

Polly said...

They really are stunning. And full of energy. The last one is straight out of a fantasy land, to me it looks very Lord of the Rings

Just Jules said...

I love the last pic in particular. I too try to take "snap shots" of moments - if only to remember them for that moment. I like to think each of these little shutter clicks I make with my mind will pass before my eyes in the end.... THAT would be a good way to go.

dutchbaby said...

Very constructive use of time! I love the first one; it really looks like its in motion. I have hard time gauging how big they are. You said larger than life but how much larger? 2x, 3x?

julochka said...

yup, the statues are naked. at least the ones i've shown here. that's the human body in all its glory, folks!

and yes, there are better pictures of them in existence. it was sunny, but it was straight-up noon, so the light wasn't ideal.

most of these that i've shown are pretty much life-size. i'll do another post with the larger ones.

julochka said...

p.s. in person, i didn't find them scary at all...tho' there were some around the fountain (part of the same series as the last picture above) that were pretty scary. will also do another post about those one day.

SE'LAH... said...

won-der-ful captures. Love making the best of a situation.

Great post.

cheekyketek said...

That man is totally about to drop that kid because she just won't stop crying.

I like the broccoli diver, though.

:)

Mrs.Rotty said...

Those are awesome. I like to hang around naked with my parents too...wait. nevermind.

no i'm just joking those are seriously awesom. i like them alot.

i think i like the first one most because it just seems so care free and fun (and less scary). but the last one does lool like a broccli diver.

p.s. my word verification is Dingskin, its just to fitting for this post.

Magpie said...

Those are cool.

Bee said...

Love these observations on sculpture.

molly said...

wow. i could sit with these for hours.
i'm also super envious you love your job so much and am wondering how to get myself and hubby to that spot of "LOVING" what we do...or doing something else, of course.

Hit 40 said...

I am glad that I clicked back to catch the other comments. I adore reactions to art.

I plan to click some ohio "art" this weekend. I love one of the outdoor creations. I will be putting them up for wordless wednesdays. I like to play along with blogland games :-)