Øivind Nygård (b. 1948), Light Conductor, Statens Museum for Kunst, 1993.

The Sculptural Art of Øivind Nygárd, Beautiful, Mysterious, and Cool

Øivind Nygård (b. 1948), The Plat. Part 2, Dansk BiblioteksCenter A/S, 1994-96.

Øivind Nygård (b. 1948), Model of a Museum of Meteorology, Privat collection, 2001.

Øivind Nygård (b. 1948), Boy on Circle Shooting Boy on Square Shooting Boy on Circle, Private collection, 2001, Detail.

Øivind Nygård (b. 1948), Installation view.


Statens Museum for Kunst
Sølvgade 48-50
+45 3374 8494
Øivind Nygård
April 26-August 17, 2008

”Cool” has practically become the official definition of sculptor Øivind Nygård’s work. He has made a very striking mark on Danish art with three decades of beautiful and mysterious sculptures. Statens Museum for Kunst is showing a retrospectively inclined exhibition, which offers impressive examples of Nygård’s life’s work, as well as completely new works, which have not been shown in public before. A major book is being published in connection with the exhibition, drawing up the main lines of Nygård’s artistic production.

Norwegian-born Øivind Nygård (b. 1948) is a striking figure in the reawakening and renewal of Danish sculptural art, with his sovereign feeling for the hidden corners and possibilities of his materials. He belongs to the generation of sculptors who made their breakthrough in the 1980s, and who translated post-modernistic ideas into sculptural form. Despite their very diverse types of expression, this generation is responsible for up-to-date sculpture, which can both contain and offer resistance to the accelerating and fleeting stream of information of the time. In other words, sculpture which liberates itself from the stationary state of the monument and the statue, but which at the same time offers a new vantage point for reflection and sensory experience.

In many ways, Øivind Nygård’s works defy the demands of the time that call for innovation for innovation’s sake. Instead he has worked ever since his debut with an uncompromising focus on the same central problems, which in return have far-reaching perspectives.

Nygård’s works are especially concerned with how one can employ a figurative idiom without dropping off into unequivocality and simple answers as regards meaning. He employs both naturalistic and abstract elements in his sculptures, where they work side by side to generate a special dynamism or synergy, opening up to the observer’s own readings. Here Nygård exploits the temporality of the sculpture to the full. Whereas a picture is normally experienced in one go and from the same position, the sculpture operates much more with an expanse of time, connected to the observer’s movements. At first sight, what often dominate Øivind Nygård’s sculptures are human figures and regular basic geometric shapes. But on closer inspection, the otherwise so seductive surface turns out to be broken by unfinished and unclear patches – an apparent inner mobility and mutability, which in different ways create new layers of experience for the observer.

The exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst shows a retrospective cross-section of Øivind Nygård’s artistic production, and in this way draws a picture of an artist who is continually and insistently sharpening his expression and the elements that have absorbed him since the start of his career. Øivind Nygård has arranged the exhibition himself together with art educator Anne Grethe Uldall. Entry fee for the exhibition.

A book dealing retrospectively with Øivind Nygård’s artistic work and giving an overview of it is published in connection with the exhibition. Øivind Nygård — Værker og Tekster, 160 pages, fully illustrated. Preface by Else Marie Bukdahl. Introductory article by Anne Ring Petersen. Also articles by Lars Kiel Bertelsen, Flemming Friborg, Øivind Nygård and Frederik Stjernfelt.


Portrait of Øivind Nygård, Photo: Viggo Rivad.