Hello, perfect stranger, what are you doing here on my road? Øivind Nygård’s sculpture, which you meet on your way to ARKEN, invites you to stop and look around.

Øivind Nygård, Stadium, 1995. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Miriam Nielsen

In the grass along the road Skovvej, which leads down to ARKEN, you meet a large, white alien entity – an unidentified flying object is landing. It seems to hover over the grass on its small, pointed supports. The object has been aesthetically elaborated to perfection. It has a rigorous form, it is shining white and it has a smooth surface as if it has been cut out with a laser.
The label by the sculpture says Stadium. So it’s a stadium, or at least a kind of model of a stadium. But something is different, for a stadium is basically a building with an interior, funnel-shaped centre and at the bottom of the funnel events are played out that the spectators can see from the stands along the side of the funnel. Like the Colosseum in Rome or Wembley in London. In this case it is the other way round. The funnel is filled up such that the action can only take place in the open, unbounded space around the sculpture, where you stand or walk or rush past.

Look at the world

The sculpture directs the gaze out into the space, away from itself, and your attention follows suit. It lacks its centre, so you cannot look in at it. What you can do, and what many people actually do when they encounter Stadium, is to turn your back on the sculpture, step up on to it and use it as a platform, as an outside stand – and look at the world instead. The expression of a minimalistic sculpture like this is so succinct – or minimal – that the sculpture comes to be about its own surroundings: the space, the light, the smells, the sounds – and yourself.

Stadium was made for the exhibition City Space during Copenhagen Cultural Capital 1996, when it was set up on a busy road at Kalvebod Brygge. In other words it was made to stand outdoors as an unexpected, alien sight in an open, not particularly well-defined urban space where we pass quickly by.

Øivind Nygård, 2008. Photo: Viggo Rivad

About Øivind Nygård

Øivind Nygård’s perfectionist sculptures and decorations are made in simple mate¬rials and colours. They often include both abstract and naturalistic elements that meet in contrasts and create the feeling of recognizability without quite looking like what they remind us of. Nygård’s art takes its point of departure in the traditional resources of sculpture such as the use of light and shade, stillness and motion, but he uses them to create unexpected shifts in perspective that speak to the present.

1948-2010. Born in Norway and has lived in Denmark from 1966.

Trained at the School of Applied Art in 1973-77 and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1977-83 with among others Willy Ørskov as his teacher.

Associate Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1990-97.

Awarded the Eckersberg Medal in 2002.

From 2004 a member of the artist’s association Grønningen.