Created and Sold by Hans Martin Øien

Hans Martin Øien
Before the era of rivers | Public Sculptures by Hans Martin Øien | Hønefoss high school in Hønefoss
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Before the era of rivers - Public Sculptures

Featured In Hønefoss high school, Hønefoss, Norway

Item details

Background for idea:

An amphitheater is basically about the dissemination of language and culture in different forms and at different levels. It was this thought that led me to invite Author Øivind Hånes to a collaboration on the design of the amphitheater.

How can a written poem on an "A4 sheet" turn into an Amphi?

By curling and folding sheets in various ways, you quickly arrive at an "accordion" formation that can be excellent used as an amphitheater
By folding the sheet diagonally and placing it in the sloping terrain of the school, the shape becomes more dynamic and interesting as a sculpture.
The amphitheater become more organic with soft rounding and undulating profiles. By folding an irregular shape with steps of different depths and the ledges, the "grandstand" appears more sculptural, consisting of only different surfaces. The various steps will offer a more playful and interesting way to sit.
The undulating shape and location of the "amphi sculpture" can be reminiscent of water flowing into the terrain. This gives the amphi sculpture a relation to the geographical origin of the town of Hønefoss - sited in the meeting between two rivers, Bengna and the Randselven. The sculpture may appear as a dry river bed, sanded by water. Therefore the title: "Before the time of the rivers" which is otherwise the title of a poem by Hånes.

The poem is carved out of the stone as if it was written by hand on a large sheet, the words are broken by the undulating movement and one has to move on the sculpture to see the context and content of the poem. At a distance, the words will appear as ornaments on the large bright surface. The text is emphasized by being hand-carved in relief, the words are slightly higher than the surface of the stone itself, the surface is spiked and sanded to a nice rough surface while the words are polished. This means that the poem will be clearly darker than the rest of the stone when the stone is dry, while when the stone gets wet the words are almost completely erased.
The sculpture consists of 38 granite stones.

Context & Credits

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Hans Martin Øien
Meet the Creator
Wescover creator since 2020
"Every time I start a new art project I want it to play an important role for its surroundings."

From 1993 until today I have mainly worked with sculpture, installation and art projects in public spaces, as well as producing exhibitions in public galleries and museums.
In collaboration with engineers and craftsmen, I have for the last 15 years realized large scale art projects in different materials.
I have worked with materials such as wood, stone, steel, plastic, aluminum, bronze, copper, concrete, etc.
After a retrospective exhibition at the Haugar Art Museum in 2004, one of my projects has been a series of sculptures called "Lego sculptures". These sculptures have since been exhibited in many places all over Norway, and have been used in public art projects. This was basically an idea where I wanted to use a well known design (Lego minifigure) and reusable materials to create "full size" sculptures with literary references and low material costs. At this point I had been fascinated by how my children played with Lego.
I observed that my boys could play with these characters as girls play with dolls. They could live their experiences and fantasies with the characters and process their life experiences. I decided to do something similar with my sculptures. I wanted to draw the Lego figure into the adult reality and make him big and visible picturing the adult world. This led to a number of exhibitions and eventually projects in the public realm.
It was a relief to be able to emphasize storytelling rather than designing exclusive objects that very few people were interested in. The materials had a marginal significance; my first "Lego sculptures" were built from used veneer plates. Later I have used more traditional sculptural materials such as bronze and stone to draw these figures into an art tradition and to be able to create lasting sculptures that can withstand the Norwegian outdoor climate.
My "Lego sculptures" often deal with adults problems, myths and prejudices, while at the same time referring to the traditional sculpture that appears as a representation of memory.