The Vigeland Park, one of the famous tourist attractions in Norway, is actually not a separate park, it is the Vigeland Installation, a permanent sculptural installation, located at the heart of the Frogner Park that consists of sculptures as well as larger structures, such as bridges and fountains. Considered as the largest sculpture park in the world, it was created by a single Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland between 1924 and 1943 and includes 212 sculptures made from bronze and granite, spread over an 850-metre axis from the entrance to the park’s centerpiece.
Labeled as the collection of the weirdest statues in the world, it includes everything from a giant lizard embracing a woman to a naked man with a child in each arm, from the Couple in Love to the Dancing Couple, from the pastoral to the downright surreal, representing sublime studies of the human body in all its glorious simplicity.
Gustav Vigeland, born as Adolf Gustav Thorsen, the designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal, held his first personal exhibitions in Norway in 1894 and 1896, which received notable critical praise. In 1921, the City of Oslo decided to demolish the house of Vigeland and build a library and Vigeland was granted a new building.
In exchange, the artist promised to donate all his subsequent works to the city and over the following twenty years, he devoted his days to the project of an open exhibition of his works, which later came to be known as the Vigeland Sculptural Arrangement in the Frogner Park.
The sculptures in the Vigeland Park consist of naked human figures, in all varieties of poses and situations in everyday life, such as walking, sitting, holding hands to more symbolic subjects like, ‘Man Attacked by Babies’ that suggests a man struggling to cope with the responsibility of parenthood, to more highly abstract works. The Fountain, originally designed to stand in front of the Norwegian Parliament, is one of the highlights of the Park. The magnificent structure consists of 60 individual bronze reliefs representing the circle of life, with sculptures of children, teenagers, old men and skeletons.
‘The Monolith’, situated on a plateau and raised around 46 feet 32 inches (14’12 m) high above the surroundings, is the grand centre of the Vigeland project. The highly symbolic sculpture, consisting of 121 intertwined human figures, climbing in and around each other, all fighting their way to the top, represents the human desire to reach out to the divine.
Each of the figures dotted around the Monolith, represents a different stage of life, from the loving couple in the ‘Sitting Man and Woman’ to the Babies riding on the mother’s back. It took 14 years for the master artist to complete the job, with the help of three other carvers.
There are many other interesting sculptures in the park. While ‘The Wheel of Life’ is a sundial positioned at the very end of an 850-meter axis, familial tenderness is explored in pieces like ‘One Handed Girl Lift’. While athleticism is illustrated in the tradition of the Ancient Greek sculptors in ‘Dancing Young Woman’, a toddler in a tantrum is depicted in amusing precision in the ‘Angry Boy’. Apart from that Vigeland Park houses many surreal sculptures