Sofias Country Gardens
Visiting Wanås sculpture park
Last summer while visiting my bestie Sonja in Sweden, we took a mini holiday and a road trip through Skåne county. We were actually on a mission to visit her dog ice-cream factory, and somehow - after the work was done - we got so inspired by the landscape that we just kept on driving. (You can read more about the dog ice-cream at hugoandceline.) Our destination was the sculpture park at Wanås castle where we spent a delightful day walking about, looking at the sculptures and installations, and generally just enjoying the fantastic July sunshine. They also have a restaurant with delicious lunches, so after our long walk we enjoyed a perfect late lunch in a shady part of the garden.
One of the first things you come to is Wish Trees for Wanås by Yoko Ono. It is a beautiful installation with apple trees planted in rows, where you are asked to write your wish on a piece of paper and hang it in the tree. I just loved reading all the different wishes...
Apparently the idea came from seing trees near temples in Japan when Yoko Ono was young, where people would hang their prayers on pieces of paper. This is ona of many such installations she has created, and at each location the kind of tree planted reflects that site. At Wanås, it is apple trees since it is typical of the region. Afterwards all the wishes are harvested and added to the Imagine Peace Tower on Icelands Vioey island. (To read more, look up Wanås official page.) Now isn't that a beautiful idea?
After that you enter the enormous park where since 1987 over 300 artworks have been exhibited. There is so much to see, that even after spending a whole day in the park I felt that we had only scratched the surface and therefore I won't even try to write about all there is but instead give you a sample through pictures in the hope of inspiring you to make a visit one day, or to allow room for some artwork in your own garden.
Richard Nonas artwork La Colonne Terminée (1989) was one of the first artworks in the park, and still has a magical effect pulling you into the beechwood forrest.
Per Kirkeby's brick installation Wanås (1994) is evocative in all its firmness. It reminds me of all the beautiful abandoned houses in this world, and leaves me wishing they could all be saved. Nothing to do with this artwork really, just my own interpretation of it as a ruin.
Henrik Håkansson's The Reserve, a 2500 square meters of park fenced of to be an autonomous and untouched island of wilderness within the existing landscape. I love the idea that there is a little piece of land just left to stand as it is, with no human interference. In my own forrest there is a large hill that I have left to its own devices as an experiment in natural habitat formation, but you can rest assured there will be no fence around it!
Marianne Uutinen is a Finnish artist who works in Helsinki. I loved her work The Hearts (1994) for all its simplicity, and would truly have loved to take it home with me!
But my favourite of all was the pink sheep, an installation by Henrik Pledge Jakobsen called If the People Have No Bread Let Them Eat Cake. I think it is because I felt I had finally found my long lost family! (And not to worry, the colour used is an animal friendly vegan colour that does them no harm whatsoever.)