Enough room to swing a hundred babies in Oslo’s Frogner Park

Norwegians seem to be constantly coming from, going to, or actively engaged in robust outdoor activities.  Oslo is a sea of bouncing ponytails (from the almost comical amount of joggers.)  The trains are full of cross-country ski shleppers.  Women in their seventies are hiking with backpacks and bedrolls.  There’s a national obsession with cabins (one man said to us “We don’t know why they are putting up a shopping center—none of us are interested in that, we just want to go to our cabins.”)

Norway’s public art is loaded with nudity, but not in a salacious way, rather a wholesome sort of nudity reflecting all that hearty outdoorsmanship.  Even recent public art has 1930’s socialist-realism vibe, as if the nude Norwegians depicted are frolicking in mountain-fed lakes after a day laboring on a farm.

Frogner Park in Oslo is ground zero for nude public sculpture.  The sculptures are all the work of Gustav Vigeland.  Basically Vigeland went to the city administrators and said “Give me an art studio and a park and I’ll take it from there.”  And so he did, from the 1920’s until he died in 1943.  This park is huge and Vigeland was no slacker.  I can’t say I have a taste for this sort of art but I do love that the good bureaucrats of Oslo gave over a large public space for sculpture after sculpture of naked people tossing babies around.

vpark13 I mean, it isn’t all baby tossing but you walk into the park on a promenade with a distinct baby flinging theme.

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Hey, you’d be pissed off too if people were kicking you around in a park all day.

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After the baby swinging promenade, naturally you encounter a fountain…

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In which there are trees with naked babies inside.

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Step through the iron gates featuring Tom of Finland’s wholesome Norwegian cousins…

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And dang if that isn’t a 45 foot high monolith of nudes squished into a column!

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Heavy handed?  Oh maybe just a pinch.

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Sorry to disappoint but HOB and I toured the park fully clothed.  Rest assured, however, we did have a picnic in front of Vigeland’s finest (and we properly disposed of our trash afterwards).

While Frogner park has plenty of wholesome nudes, it lacks public restrooms.  There was a pay toilet, which accepted only credit cards (!) and costs about $3.

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I forgot to record the name of this work, but I believe it was “The Despair of Travelers Who Are Too Cheap to Pay $3 to Pee.”

 

How we got to Olso: bus from Ålesund to Åndalsnes, train from Åndalsnes to Dombås, and another train from Dombås to Oslo.
Where we slept: Citybox Oslo. Price: €83 for a double. Recommended: yes.

10 comments

  1. Those long winters have a lot to answer for….
    And three dollars to use a loo…paid by credit card….definitely something wrong with the psyche…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind paying a nominal amount for a clean bathroom but $3 gives me a pain in the wallet. After a few desperate days we found free, decent toilets were often hiding in shopping malls.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What, those shopping malls Norwegians would eschew in favour of their cabins? Maybe if you knocked at a cabin door they would let you use the loo for free, but I guess there aren’t too many cabins in Frogner Park…

        This has got to be my favourite post of yours. Until I read your next one, of course! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha, I’d knock on a cabin door to borrow the loo and they’d have me snowshoeing nude and sleeping on a glacier within minutes….

        Like

  2. I remember going to that park in Oslo with my dad. I was 15, he and my mom had divorced the year before ant this must’ve been the second holiday just him and me. I remember strolling into the park and, after a while, we began noticing the nudes. A little bit later Dad, ever the sensitive fella, turned around and said “Is it just me or this park is full of asses and testicles?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I love a good dad joke! Was it one of those custody things where you live with one parent but go on holidays with the other? My parents had a joint custody and I hated it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it was something along those lines. Honestly it wasn’t bad even though the day that my dad went missing because he was following some ducks in Uppsala (true!) wasn’t fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really want to see these statues but, it’s freaking me out at the same time. That’s art for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best art is often freaky, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

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