The project Room for Reflection originated from the idea to create natural stopovers along the Pilgrim path with art and/or architectural installations. These will be places for reflection and contemplation, where you can follow your own trail of thoughts, interact with other travellers, enjoy the view or simply rest. Furthermore, the aim is to turn attention towards and improve the inherent quality and identity of the environment and the paths abandoned in favour of modern infrastructure. Thus, they help to revive and activate areas which are important within cultural history.
About the Project
Since 1994 more than 5000 kilometres of routes through Denmark, Sweden and Norway have been marked with the logo of the Pilgrimage path. In May 2010 the Pilgrimage path was certified as a Cultural Road by the Council of Europe. Gudbrandsdalsleden, part of the Pilgrim path, became a major tourist attraction, leading through 12 municipalities. Art works of high quality, thoroughly integrated with the hike, will gain interest from more people than the average user of the pilgrim’s way.
An initiative of the county government
The idea for the project Room for Reflection was initated by an interdisciplinary committee of the county municipality of Oppland (today Innlandet). The county municipality has a legal responsibility to foster public health as well as outdoor recreation, and tourism is an important area within the strategy for economical development in Innlandet. Furthermore, the county municipality is the responsible authority for cultural heritage and its maintenance. These are the main contexts behind the initiative Room for Reflection.
A competition to choose the projects
In 2018, an open project call was announced for artists and architects. From this initial open call, 15 groups and artists were invited to participate in the final competition for the realisation of projects in 5 municipalities, each municipality choosing one winning project.
Aim: A Room for Reflection in every municipality on the Pilgrim path
The participating municipalities are Gran, Østre Toten, Lillehammer, Øyer and Ringebu. For the long run the aim will be that a Room for Reflection is created within all municipalities along the Pilgrim path from Oslo to Trondheim.
Eivind Slettemeås - curator of the project Tankeplass
In 2011, Eivind Slettemeås founded Harpefoss Hotel, a multidisciplinary project and artist-in-residence center, concert venue, gallery, publishing house and festivals. He is also appointed as project manager for Ringebu stave church and vicarage. As producer, curator and writer his work is primary related to public art projects which are site-specific in character and concerned with local development as well as educational issues.
Municipality Øyer: Artwork M.A.U.R.
Artist: Erik Pirolt
Erik Pirolt (born 1977), lives and works in Kristiansand. Pirolt holds a rich repertoire of materials, techniques and media, and display a wide array of thematic developments into his works. With this in mind his works attempts to express the joy of creation, independently of overarching strategic aims. Pirolt has excecuted several public art commissions in Norway.
About the artwork
The ability of imagining things underlies language as a way of expressing consciousness, through which we may also be able to identify our self. Is consciousness what distinguishes us from other species? A consciousness that posesses us to take over the crown of creation?
M.A.U.R. - Magisk Altomfattende Underliggende Romprogram (Magical All-embracing Underlying Space program) is an 2,5 x 2 x 1,5 meter large bronze sculpture of an ant (Norwegian maur). Equipped with a space suit and film camera it contemplates nature, or rather, it points its camera to a huge anthill which lies a little off the Pilgrim path past Kløv.
The work is situated on a clearance in the forest overlooking the valley and protected between tall spruce trees. Here, the artist was inspired by the anthill as an image of nature as a creative force and by language as a means to gain consciousness of this work of creation.
Kløv has long since been a place to rest at the peak of the path between Øyer and Tretten. After a steep ascent through the forest, this open and peaceful place invites to make a pause or a stay overnight.
Following the surprise in discovering the giant ant and the anthill in the forest fundamental questions of existence may come to rise: What are we? Where do we come from? Are we a part of nature?
M.A.U.R. can be interpreted as a metaphor of man’s effort to position himself at the centre of creation, in search of coherence and understanding. At the same time it can be seen as an attempt to view the world from a collective rather than individual way of existence.
Municipality Gran: Artwork ROTEN
aiPotu are the artists Anders Kjellesvik (born 1980) and Andreas Siqueland (born 1973). Their cooperation began in 2004 with the purchase of a veteran camper. Their first travel route went along with the figure of the number eight, drawn upon a map of Europe. Since then aiPotu has created a great number of works together, starting with the site and situations in public spaces, galleries and institutions in Norway and abroad.
About the artwork
Several thousands of years ago the World Tree was hewn down. Bits of it were distributed all over the world and held as a reminder of the world coming to an end. “Roten” (The Root) is the reconstruction of the bark from this tree.
”Roten” is a 4.5 m high sculpture made of concrete and covered with silicate paint and stands on a hill by the path between Blokkhus and Høgkorset. Here, the Pilgrim path follows what is said to have been an old ship transport route between the Randsfjord and the Einafjord, mentioned in the saga of Håkon Håkonsson from 1225. After a steep ascent from Brandbu the ridge is a good place to relax and enjoy the expanding view of the landscape.
”Roten” is an art work with multiple interpretations relating to history and mythology. Also its construction offers protection, invites to contemplate and create new narratives. The myth of the World Tree has existed in many cultures for thousands of years.
“Roten” directs our view towards the sky, while the title takes us back to earth. From its inside you can see the landscape as from a cave or a ruin. In similar ways “Roten” poses many questions. Is the reconstruction only a minor piece of a widely distributed root system? How did it get to Hadeland? Why just the bark of the tree? And why is it here now?
Municipality Østre Toten: Artwork ENMANNSSTIEN
Artists: Elin Melberg, Martina Andersson, Elin Viléus Henricson
Elin Melberg (born 1976) lives and works in Stavanger. Her works can be seen among other places at the Art Museum of Stavanger, Stavanger University Hospital, KORO, Stavanger Kommune, Oslo Kommune, the Bazil Alkazzi Foundation and the Statoil Art Collection. She already has delivered several public commissions. Together with Margrethe Aanestad Melberg was responsible for the artist-run gallery Projectroom Normanns in Stavanger. She is co-founder of the creative collective Elefant, where she has her studio. Melberg is a member of the Norwegian Art Council’s working commitee for visual art.
Martina Andersson (born 1983) lives and works in Stavanger. Martina has 11 years of experience as a landscape architect and project manager for small and large assignments. Between 2009 and 2012 she worked as landscape architect for Norconsult and between 2012 and 2018 for Alliance Arkitekter. Presently, she works at Stavanger municipality as project manager and architect for design assignments, urban development projects and user participation. Furthermore, she is responsible for research projects on health promoting environment and urban development. She has her own company, Animé Landskap, which takes on voluntary projects and art assignments. Martina received several scholarships for independent research and projects.
Elin Viléus Henricson (born 1982) lives and works in Copenhagen. For 11 years she has been working as landscape architect and has broad experience with small and large landscape projects. 2009-11 she worked for Asplan Viak, 2011-15 for Rambøll and 2015-18 for Alliance Arkitekter. Furthermore, she teaches and was censor at the Stavanger University, where she held guest lectures on the subject urban development and urban design. She received several scholarships for independent research. She held positions in studentboards and professional organisations and was chairwoman of the Norwegian Landscape Architects’ Association in Rogaland (2013-14). Today, she is working for Werk Arkitekter in Copenhagen and has run her own company EVH Landskab since 2018.
About the artwork
Enmannsstien (The One-man-trail) reflects hiking, alone but also with company. The work explores the contrast between fantasy and reality, loneliness and belonging. It is an extension of an existing path and the surrounding landscape, and its glittering, reflecting material reflects the world a with a little bit of difference, as in a mosaic.
The title suggests how the sculpture emphasizes hiking as a process of reflection, as well as an installation itself forming a part of the path. The work is inspired by the colours and shapes of the undulating cultural landscape and the sky above. The track made of cast concrete modules measures 15 meters and forms an elevating line through the landscape, at the end descending down to earth again by two large stairs. Its sides are covered with a detailed mosaic mounted on acrylic mirrors which make the environment and the viewer herself parttaking in the work. In cooperation with the estate holder, the Centre of Precision Agriculture NIBIO Apelsvoll, the artists also sowed the meadow around the sculpture, with seeds adapted particularly for this environment.
The landscape around the sculpture ”Enmannsstien” convey a feeling of infinity. With different seasons and light conditions the landscape itself becomes a canvas which changes throughout the year. The landscape forms the sculpture’s background with seasonal changes and with people visiting the place. Simultaneously the art work invites us to view the landscape from a cultural, historical and social perspective.
Municipality Lillehammer: Artwork INVERTED BRIDGE
Artists: L+S; Lutz-Rainer Müller + Stian Ådlandsvik
The German-Norwegian artist duo L+S are Lutz-Rainer Müller (born 1977) and Stian Ådlandsvik (born 1981). They work primarly with art in relation to site and the public sphere. Their working method takes its cue from situations they are invited to and is expressed through a variety of materials and strategies. Thus, the materials and processes always play an important role within the interpretations and meaning of their works. They live and work in Leipzig and Oslo.
About the artwork
The Vingnes bridge in Lillehammer aligns a straight line through the landscape, drawing up a line which the work “Inverted Bridge” extends to span around the world at large. In accordance with this line from Vingnes across the world, beginning at the east side of Lillehammer, the artists have searched up public benches from various places and recreated them for installation on the Vingnes bridge.
With seven benches, all gathered from faraway places of the beaten track of global transportation routes, „Inverted Bridge“ invites us on a mental journey as well as reflecting upon the concepts of design and standardisation. The title defies the definition of a bridge as a connection between two points. By going the other way around the world from Vingnes to Lillehammer, the artists chose benches from places hardly anyone know the whereabouts of: Azapa in Chile, Tp. Mong Cai in Vietnam, Caroebe in Brazil, Poso in Indonesia, Dornach Chapel in Scottland, Dolphin Sands in Tasmania and Semei in Kazakhstan.
The benches are placed on the horizontal part of the Vingnes bridge. Their variety of form and material construction make them a kind of miniature world exhibition. The work’s simplicity and modesty contrast the individual expression of the benches and their exotic and enigmatic relation to each other. “Inverted Bridge” connects the Pilgrim path and Lillehammer to the world, by highlighting local stories and the collective surplus to be found within global cooperation and exchange.
Municipality Ringebu: Artwork HOVUDET, KLOKKEPORTEN and FALKESTEINEN
Artist: Ånond Versto
Ånond Versto (born 1984) lives and works in Flatdal, Telemark. Versto works with objects, sculptures and drawings marked by mythology and technically inspired forms and by a meticulously executed and diversified craftsmanship. He has had individual exhibitions among others at Akershus Kunstsenter (2012) and the Kunsthall Grenland (2017). In 2019 he participated in the Greenlightdistrict-Biennale and the exhibition Rotvelte at Harpefoss Hotell.
About the artwork
The sculptures are related to local myths and represents by enigmatic ways various aspects of the pilgrimage’s journey. Hovudet (The Head) refers to an execution ground nearby, Klokkeporten (The Bell Gate) to the local legend of the Sister Bells, while Falkesteinen (The Falcon Stone) represents the peregrine – falco peregrinus.
The three parts of the sculptural installation in stone and bronze „Hovudet, Klokkeporten og Falkesteinen“ is situated beside the Pilgrim path above Høgkleiva. Seen as a whole, the work can be interpreted as a story of spiritual transformation or as a rite de passage, with reference to the pilgrimage itself and the remains of ancient fortifications on the hilltop just above.
Hovudet with its androgynous and inexpressive facial features is located at the crossroad and marks separation: from the body, from the self or from a sense of orientation. A few steps further along the path “Klokkeporten” is situated, a stone gate shaped as a Romanesque arch with two church bells, signifying the transfiguration between two worlds. The two bells hint at the local legend of the Sister Bells, which recently attained popular knowlegde through Lars Mytting’s novel “The Bell in the Lake”. The last of the sculptures „Falkesteinen“, is located on a magnificent viewpoint over the valley and represents the metamorphosis or the liberation from a former life. Here you may lie down on the outspread wings symbolized by the sculpture, and feel the presence of the sky above and earth below at the same time.
The text is translated from norwegian to english by Eivind Slettemeås
All photos: Siri Leira