Ekeberg Sculpture Park, Oslo’s Hidden Open-Air Gallery

“We Come in Peace” by Huma Bhabha, an American-Pakistani artist

photography by: Omri Westmark

With its history stretching back to as early as the Iron Age, Ekeberg is one of Oslo’s oldest continuously inhabited areas, encompassing the wooded hillsides south of the city center. In 2013, a local billionaire with a sheer passion to art inaugurated a whimsical sculpture garden across the area. The park is now home to dozens of sculptures and art installations, created by some of Europe’s most illustrious artists.

Info and History

Since the dawn of human settlement in the area that now constitutes the Norwegian capital, the forested slopes of Ekeberg have been serving an indispensable role as a cultural and natural nook. Home to multiple pre-historic sites that date back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age, this hilly part of Oslo has famously inspired Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893 to conceive his most famous painting, “The Scream”.

 

Fast-forward to the 2000’s, when Oslo born businessman and art-collector, Christian Ringnes, suggested to allocate parts of Ekeberg for a sculpture park whose main theme is femininity, he unexpectedly faced a fierce opposition. Environmental organizations claimed that the plan is harmful to the forest’s delicate ecosystem, while feminist activists blamed him for being disrespectful and chauvinist. Be that as it may, Ringnes persisted with his plans and in 2013, Ekeberg Sculpture Park was officially inaugurated.

 

Spanning over an area of 25.5 acres amid woodlands and glades, the park is home to 45 art installations and sculptures, including a couple of interactive works. Among the artists behind the statues are some of Europe’s most renowned figures in the field of art such as Auguste Rodin, Sarah Lucas and Salvador Dali. The diverse background of the creators is well-reflected in the staggering variety of art-styles across the park, ranging from classical to ultra-modern.

 

Nestled on the western tip of the park, the Ekebergparken Museum is where visitors can have an insightful glimpse of the area’s history and nature. The museum, which resides in a quaint Swiss chalet house, is also complemented by a kiosk and souvenir shop.

 

Open all day long and all year round, this green lung is traversed by several hiking trails, perfectly suited for hikers who wish to explore the pristine nature that thrives side by side with the eye-catching sculptures. As the park is situated atop a wooded hill, it is bestowed with stunning views of Oslo downtown, Oslofjord and a smattering of small islands dotted with cottages.

“Cast Glances” by Tony Cragg, 2002


A verdant glade where some works of art are showcased

photography by: Omri Westmark


"Traveler” by Tori Wrånes, 2018

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Möbius Trippel” by Aase Texmon Rygh

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Spectral Power” by Tony Oursler, 2013 – a talking light pole

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Reclining Woman” by Fernando Botero, 2003

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Fideicommissum” by Ann-Sofi Sidén, 2000

photography by: Omri Westmark


The Ekeberg Pavilion by American artist Dan Graham

photography by: Omri Westmark


An Obstacle course in front of Ekeberg Park Museum

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Mann og kvinne, Adorasjon” (Man and Woman, Adoration) by Gustav Vigeland, 1908

photography by: Omri Westmark


“La grande Laveuse” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1914-1916

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Still life with a landscape” by the US artist Sarah Sze, 2011–2012

photography by: Omri Westmark


Notable Works of Art

Whilst each and every art installation throughout Ekebergparken offers an intriguing experience or a sight to behold at, some works have already become a pilgrimage site for art enthusiasts.

 

Perhaps one of the most iconic sculptures which is also synonymous with the park itself is The Couple. Created in 2003 by Louise Bourgeois, a French artist from New York City, it is comprised of a pair of sleek, metallic figures hanging off a tree. According to Bourgeois, whose work revolved around visceral emotions, the statue signifies a relationship between two people as it overcomes a series of obstacles throughout life.

 

Conspicuously protruding from a patch of lawn, “Deep Cream Maradona” is Ekeberg’s single most provocative sculpture. The brainchild of Sarah Lucas, among Britain’s greatest contemporary artists, the strikingly yellow sculpture depicts a reclining woman with a phallic organ attached to her crotch, coalescing into a rather ambiguous figure.

 

Standing somewhat unassumingly under the luxuriant canopies is “Venus de Milo aux tiroirs”, a bronze sculpture whose creator, Salvador Dali, was the undisputed leader of the 20th century surrealist movement. Featuring a semi-clothless figure of a woman divided by drawers, the controversial statue explores sexuality in the context of subconsciousness.

 

Another noteworthy work is the quirky sculptures of Huma Bhabha, an American-Pakistani sculptor who a gained a great deal of fame for her “We Come in Peace” art installation. Originally, the work was designed for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it greeted visitors at the roof terrace. Following a short period of time in the Big Apple, it was then relocated to Ekeberg Park. Consisting of two oddly-looking figures, a lying and plastic-wrapped armadillo-like creature named Benaam, and a rangy, Frankensteinian humanoid. Bhabha asserts that her work pays a homage to the famous sci-fi film “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

“The Couple” by Louise Bourgeois, 2003

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Ace of Diamonds”, 2004 – an interactive art-installation created by the British artist Lynn Chadwick

photography by: Omri Westmark


A concrete bunker-shaped structure

photography by: Omri Westmark


The sculpture sits amid a rectangular pond, accompanied by a wooden deck

photography by: Omri Westmark


“L´ouiseau Amoureux Fontaine” by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1993

photography by: Omri Westmark


The standing figure of “We Come in Peace” by Huma Bhabha, 2018

photography by: Omri Westmark


Benaam, part of “We Come in Peace” by Huma Bhabha, 2018

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Deep Cream Maradona” by Sarah Lucas, 2016

photography by: Omri Westmark


A cool device that encourages visitors to scream while recording them doing so

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Indre Rom VI – Livsløpet” by Per Inge Bjørlo, 2013

photography by: Omri Westmark


“Venus de Milo aux tiroirs” by Salvador Dalí, 1964

photography by: Omri Westmark