Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst’s Hanging Sculpture, Trondheim

The spooky sculpture on Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst’s façade

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Whoever passes in front of Kjøpmannsgata 36/38 in Trondheim’s historic center will come across a rather unusual sight. The building’s nondescript façade is strikingly contrasted by a gravity defying statue which eerily gawks at passersby and onlookers alike.

For years on end, Trondheim born painter Kjell Erik Killi Olsen had a dream to open an art center in his hometown, where young artists could have their baptism of fire. Globally renowned for his abstract, whimsical paintings of humanoid figures, Killi Olsen has purchased in 2017 a derelict building in the city’ Kjøpmannsgata Street, meters away from Bakklandet’s iconic houses.


Following a thorough face-lift, the once dilapidated edifice was reopened in the fall of 2021 as a culture and art center, aptly named Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst (Kjøpmannsgata’s Young Art). The multi-functional complex is home to a thousand square meters of visual art across 10 exhibition rooms, workshops, concert halls and apparently, also an oddly shaped sculpture, hanging over its entrance.


To grab the attention of pedestrians who walk along the nearby street, Killi Olsen opted to install a massive statue on the building’s main façade, about 9 meters above the ground level. Affixed to the wall with a sturdy support system, the sculpture is made of steel skeleton and fully cladded with painted bronze. Despite his lack of arms, the hunchbacked sculpture seems rather balanced and comfy at his current position, spookily staring at bystanders with his large triangular face. Whether this sculpted creature is a human, an alien or a little of both is up for you to determine, however, one thing is certain, it is an utterly unignorable object on an otherwise mundane building.