artist / participant
Norway seems to have room for only one truly great sculptor at a time.
From the late 19th to the early 20th century it was Gustav Vigeland whose megalomaniac park near Oslo is probably familiar to many of us. A hundred years later it is absolutely Bård Breivik, a figure of world-wide perspectives brimming with ideas. Despite his passion for things Nordic ("We should found the 'United States of the North'"), one would like to describe him, with an American accent, as "larger than life" and "once in a lifetime and the greatest ever".
Every time one meets Bård he has "a totally new concept!" – and it's even true! He has moved from silent material and crafts-based objects addressing archetypal forms to computer-assisted sculpture in steel and steel netting. He has worked in all possible materials from bamboo to birch roots, from lianas to copper and from zinc to varnish and wood coated with mother-of-pearl.
He is everywhere. It is hard to come upon a town, or even a village or far-off neck of the woods in Norway where Bård Breivik's monumental stone sculptures do not greet the visitor. In addition, his works are found all over the world, in the other Nordic countries and in North and South America. In Finland, they are at least in the Kiasma museum, the Saastamoinen Foundation's collection, the Sara Hildén Art Museum and by the pool at Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea.
Bård Breivik would be "totally impossible" if his sense of form and style were not so completely beyond reproach. If, after all his new experiments, he did not still uncompromisingly apply the craft skills that he learned as a young man, if he did not regard it important for the end result to always be perfect – perfect as what it happens to be at the time.
And in the words of the artist Marika Mäkelä: "On top of it all, he was really good-looking." And still is.
It says something about Bård that when writing about him one has to use so many quotation and exclamation marks.
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