Arts and Gardens

Sun from the North

Helios Boreios means "sun from the north". But the sun may not be the first association you’ll get from the solid sculpture, which is composed of blocks of pink granite. The sculpture is meant to be decorative. With its powerful rock arms it can resemble a rock carving, or a character from an unknown alphabet.

Sun from the North
Alf E. Andresen

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Artist Søren Georg Jensen himself said that the sculpture challenged the relationship between the horizontal and the vertical. There is something in the positioning of the granite blocks that defies gravity. The lower, thicker block is unevenly sharpened at the top, so the block above rests on a fairly small area. The tension in the sculpture is in the contrast between the solid and the unstable. There is nothing here that is completely symmetrical.

Helios Boreios is designed for the square in front of the HF building, which had the highest priority in the public art project at the University of Bergen in the late 1960's. The somewhat brutalist design complements the building in the background. Jensen was responsible for the exact placement of the sculpture, which is customized for its surroundings. When the square was upgraded in the summer of 2011, the sculpture was mounted again, this time in parallel with the east side of the HF building. Thus, it lost an exciting aspect: In the top stone block there is a semi-cylindrical hollow, almost in the middle. The hollow was probably intended to capture the sun when it rises in the east, thus giving meaning to the title of the sculpture.

Søren Georg Jensen (1917-1982) was a trained silversmith and sculptor. Early on in his career he worked in a naturalistic style, but moved in the direction of constructivism after having been a student of Ossip Zadkine in Paris in 1947-48. Jensen was active as a silversmith, and also experimented with glass and ceramics. He brought the ideas from his sculptural activity with him into his work in these media. One of Jensen’s main artistic interests was the play between the horizontal and vertical, which he also explored in Helios Boreios.