Spirit of Ancient Heroism

An Attempt to Live in the Spirit of Ancient Heroism
2008



An Attempt to Live in the Spirit of Ancient Heroism
Changing Lines. 150 Years of the Art of Drawing curated by Cecilie Skeide and Janeke Meyer Utne
Lillehammer Art Museum
Lillehammer, Norway 2008

This installation is based on my visit to Lillehammer in 2007. I was invited by curator Janeke Meyer Utne to create an interactive work about the city. A museum-like place, houses are either built in the traditional style and those that aren’t, incorporate historical elements in one way or another. New houses in Lillehammer use rustic structures, elements and ornaments. I felt that by doing this, the people were nurturing their relationship with tradition; partaking in the spirit of ancient heroism.
After examining the collection of Lillehammer Art Museum, the sports life in Lillehammer and The Maihaugen Open Air Museum, I got a strong impression of the Norwegian way of living heroically with nature. Together, the city’s architecture, national romantic paintings and sporting events like Birkebeinerrennet, manifest the struggle, yet strong spirit and optimism of living in the Norwegian countryside. The sense of tradition and historical heroism is palpable throughout Lillehammer.The installation consists of two photographs and 20 wooden plates resting on one table. One side of each wooden plate has a drawing, the other, a carving. There is space in the centre of the table for the viewer to rebuild a house with the wood pieces on display.The photographs were shot from the top of Nevelfjell, a popular hiking spot close to Lillehammer. I was interested in the competitive side of outdoor sports, a contemporary struggle against Nature that the comfort of modern-day living has diminished. I used the photographs as evidence of my own attempt to live in the spirit of ancient heroism.The drawings on the wooden plates are fragments of different sections of private houses in Lillehammer, houses in the Maihaugen Open Air Museum and of cottages from Hafjell, which is close to Lillehammer. I have borrowed motifs for the carvings on the backside of the plates from old houses in Maihaugen. The two most decorative ones are from a cupboard inside the Andersstua in Maihaugen. Master woodcarver Tero Hulkkonen has carved these pieces.
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An Attempt to Live in the Spirit of Ancient Heroism Changing Lines. 150 Years of the Art of Drawing,
Lillehammer Art Museum Lillehammer, Norway 2008 photo: © Nina Rantala

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