A sculptor and his work
In the courtyard of the Sydneshaugen school building there is a little sculpture. It depicts a man embracing a much smaller woman. The sculpture is almost insignificant in size, but those who notice it are often struck by the feelings playing across the man's face.
In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a master sculptor who fell in love with a statue. In Gunnerud’s piece, the sculptor and the statue have melted together, so we cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. The design is stylized, but Pygmalion’s features are much more clearly sculpted than those of the statue. It is clear which of them is a human being.
According to the Greek myth, the statue came alive as a result of Pygmalion’s prayer to Aphrodite. Gunnerud’s sculpture can be read as an alternative scenario: Pygmalion has been turned to stone; he is carved in the same syenite material as his inanimate girlfriend.
Renowned sculptor Arne Vinje Gunnerud (1930-2007) was inspired by myths, legends and fairy tales, as well as by African and Chinese art forms. He was made a Knight of the Order of St. Olav in 2001, and received the Ingeborg og Per Palle Storm honorary award in 2005. Gunnerud represented Norway at the Biennale of Sao Paulo in 1969. In 1978 he was the Festival artist at the Bergen International Festival.
NORA SØRENSEN VAAGE