Travels

Farewell, Norway, it’s been a blast!

Thursday 11 October. I left the campsite this morning and drove to the Henie Onstad Gallery on the edge of the Oslo.

The artcentre was founded in 1968 by World and Olympic champion figure skater Sonja Henie (1912–1969) and her husband, shipping magnate and art collector Neils Onstad (1909–1978). Their private collection of contemporary art, totalling 110 images, as well as funds for construction and operation of the centre was donated by the couple in 1961, when the Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad Foundation was created.

It’s a lovely gallery but there wasn’t much that grabbed me. Two artists featured in exhibitions. Jumana Manna didn’t register at all, but some of the later work by Jakob Weidemann I’d hang on my wall, along with half a dozen pieces from the gallery’s collection.

I caught Big Al gazing thoughtfully at this Barbara Hepworth piece.

He had some insightful observations, and we chatted about it as we drove away.

There was an installation, Hymn of Life by Yayoi Kusama that consisted of paper lanterns which changed colour, hung in a mirrored ‘infinity’ space.

Very pretty, but…

There were some sculptures in the grounds,

but they didn’t float my boat, although this one

was appealing.

Apparently the banana, originally an advertisement, inspired artist Claes Oldenburg’s definition of pop art, so there you go.

I have no real visual art knowledge, as I’ve said before. What I’ve enjoyed about seeing all the work over the last few months is that it grabs me or it doesn’t, I don’t rationalise it.

Today I was very much aware of the landscape surrounding the gallery and felt the external artworks didn’t stand a chance against Norway.

I was overcome by the realisation that this tour had reached a natural conclusion. I took a short walk to the shore,

and as a seaplane passed along the fjord,

said goodbye to an amazing country.

I had planned to spend one more night in Norway, at Fredrikstad, but just stopped long enough to look at the map before heading away. The tour was over, time to head home.

Half an hour later I crossed into Sweden and drove for another hour. Tomorrow I’ll overnight in Denmark, then Germany, then the Netherlands and, if all goes to plan, be on the ferry from Rotterdam on Monday evening. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends.

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