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Udden stone sculptures, Hunnebostrand, Sweden
Nature took its turn first at crafting Sweden’s stone into artwork.
Unintentionally, one has to presume, the great glaciers of the ice ages carved away the granite along the west coast of the country.
It left a gallery of landscaped sculptures in the smooth cliffs, the rounded islands, and jagged outcrops.
When man turned its hand towards the rocks, it was first for utility – not art. Stonemasons in this region from the prehistoric days through to modern times found ways to use the natural resource to develop communities.
But humans are not simply practical creatures. We also look for inspiration, for expression, and for devotion.
Here in the small coastal town of Hunnebostrand, is a tribute to this complicated relationship to stone.
Hunnebostrand was the centre of the Swedish stone industry and the most important quarry here over the years was called Udden. It’s on this site, where vast amounts of stone were shipped from, that a contemporary collection of artworks has been erected to honour nature and history.
It’s called ‘Uddenskulptur’ and is an outdoor gallery of stone sculptures.
The aim is to create a link from man to the environment – a series of artworks that open the door to the appreciation of the beautiful granite landscape that surrounds everyone who visits this region.
Each year a new exhibition is put up, running from about June to September. A different theme is chosen each time. This year (2014) the theme is 200 years of peace in Scandinavia.
Everything is open air and there’s no official entrance or anything. It’s just a free park that you can explore and connect with the artworks.
Walking around here between the stone sculptures is almost spiritual. There’s something that feels slightly magnetic about these large heavy pieces that give off such a sense of weight yet look almost ethereal.
It’s as though they’re pulling me towards them as much as I pull them towards me. It’s that connection man has always had with stone.
Let me now take you on a bit of a virtual tour of the 2014 exhibition. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean and find some of that magnetism yourself.
One day you may even get to see it in person. I’ve also included some words from the artists themselves.
Ann Carlsson Korneev, Sweden
“Time is a constant factor in both the artistic process as in life itself. Sculpting in traditional materials such as marble and granite stands in contrast to our digital era. The material is ancient, granite formed about one billion years ago. The mind reels.”
Peder Istad, Norway
“Heavenly Bench is a typical expression of my sculptures, floating, gentle forms with few fixing points on the ground. It looks as though the stone is floating – which is absolutely absurd bearing in mind the weight and density of the material.”
Hilde Rodahl, Norway
“I’ve embraced the stone with a network of rivers, and composed natural elements such as heaven – air, very soft, organic leaves, fossils, from soft as a pillow to hard as crystal – within the framework of the cube.”
Charles Michalsen, Norway
“If you want, you can see hands in natural stone. Natural stone is shaped by the ice in the Ice Age – taken from Jaeren and with approximately the same size and shape as a stone hand. The sculpture also has a playful quality, hopping back and forth, from stone to stone.”
Greger Stahlgren, Sweden
“Art can show seriousness, joy and humour. The artistic work process solves the problems that arise and try to understand the context. I want to examine these contexts and emphasise that which is universal.”
Pal Svensson, Sweden
“A temple in granite. A place where you can enjoy the view and the sunset from within a large block of stone. To make your way into the material, to experience the inside.”
Kjersti Wexelsen Goksoyr, Norway
“I would like my pieces to affect those who encounter them, for them to contain lots of answers and to be a source of wonder. I’ve often thought that if I’ve manage to include a tiny element of eternity, then I’ve succeeded.”
Lars Widenfalk, Sweden
It is symbolically-charged object from ceremonies that he has brought into his art, though so profoundly generalised that one can merely sense the mental processes, evoked by the fragmented archetypes’ subtle suggestions
Hiroshi Koyama, Sweden
“Stone was created many eons ago, so for me it represents time past. In breaking open the stone as I work, I introduce the present time to the past. I want to show the passing of time in the stone by making an opening, a door, allowing time to move back and forth in a continuum.”
Time Travel Turtle was a guest of the West Sweden Tourist Board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.