Arts and Gardens

Mysterious Mythology

Three heads are staring at us from painted surface. The center one belongs to a man, a rider, who is sitting on an animal’s back. The back arches up on each side to the other two heads. One head is a horse creature, the other looks more like a bird. They share the same, one back, and they each have one visible leg. The rider is skinny. He sits naked on a colorful saddle rug, with his one leg dangling down, his one arm dangling in his lap.

© Per Christian Vatn / BONO. Rytter, 1988
© Per Christian Vatn / BONO. Rytter, 1988
Alf E. Andresen

Main content

It is difficult to imagine that the odd rider group is going anywhere. The two animals are facing in opposite directions, and one of them would have to walk backwards if the chimerical creature were to move. The red background highlights the unreal impression. Is it a picture of a mood, or a creature from the spirit world? The idea that the picture represents something symbolic is enhanced by the golden band that runs along the bottom of the picture, and by the stylized immobility of the group.

Per Christian Vatn (1954-) is a visual artist. His elongated figures in detailed, decorative surroundings can give connotations to folk art, perhaps particularly African art. Vatn uses bright colors and imaginative designs, guiding our traipsing thoughts towards fairy tales and mythology. His pictures have been purchased by the National Museum of Norway, and he has made a public art decoration at the Haukeland Hospital.