Kjell Lundberg, Centaur, unknown year. © Kjell Lundberg

Axel Anderson "AXA", Troll på häst, 1923. © Axel Andersson

Lena Permér, Handskfågel, utan år. © Lena Permér

3 min 51 sec

The visually remarkable – Kjell Lundberg, Axel Andersson and Lena Permér

In the middle of the room we meet a sulky Centaur, cast in concrete. Depicted in Greek mythology Centaurs usually show a muscular and strong horse in the back, and a man, as muscular and strong in the front.  They are sometimes described as wild and unreliable, and other times as kind and wise. And often drunk. Kjell Lundberg´s Centaur doesn´t look anything  like the the ancient ones. Neither the man nor the horse shows the grace that is usually associated with Centaurs. The man looks pretty old and grumpy. He´s standing upright, arms crossed, corners of his mouth pointing down, and he´s glaring at us.  The horse´s body has short, straight legs and it doesn´t look like it wants to run anywhere.

When the artist Kjell Lundberg died in 1990 he left a summer cottage in Gällinge in Kungsbacka municipality. And in the garden of the cottage were 20 large concrete sculptures of humans, animals and mythological figures. One of the sculptures was this Centaur. Like the other ones, it was originally painted, but weather and wind have changed the surface during the many years the sculptures were standing there. What may be algae and what are residuals of paint are not totally obvious. The private sculpture garden grew during the 1970´s, as a monument of grief. Lundberg´s wife Birgit passed away in 1965. A woman figure painted in white depicted her and had a central position among all the other sculptures.

When the farmer who bought the land threatened to destroy the sculptures people felt committed to act, which led to an exhibition in an old factory in Gothenburg. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, but Lundberg himself sadly never experienced the success. However many of the sculptures survived as different museums and municipalities bought them.

There are other mythological figures in the room. On a podium by the windows stands a ceramic sculpture of a troll riding a horse. It is made by Axel Andersson, also known as AXA, who came from Morup in Falkenberg municipality.  Like Lundberg, he studied at Valand Academy of Fine Art in Gothenburg. He has made a lot of sacral art for churches, among others for his own parish in Morup. But most appreciated by everyday people were his ceramic scupltures of trolls. The riding troll shown here is from 1923. It looks somewhat barbaric and has extremely wide shoulders, but the horse looks happy even though the rider must be heavy. The base of the sculpture is small, while the twisted neck of the horse and the wide shoulders of the troll makes the scupture swell at the top. This was a shape which became significant for AXA:s sculptures. There is a theory which suggests that the famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles stole a sketch of one of AXA:s works and copied his shape for his sculpture of Folke Filbyter in Linköping. True or not? We will probably never know for sure, but there are undoubtedly similarities!

Between the sculptures by Lundberg and Andersson there is yet another imaginary figure, made by Lena Permér, who lives in Veddige in Varberg municipality. In a surrealistic spirit she has put together a stuffed white ferret and a pair of gloves to create a ”Glovebird”. The ferret´s body becomes a birds´s body where the white gloves, also stuffed, become the bird´s wings. It stands on a grey-black little hump, which may remind of a hat. The sculpture triggers our imagination and perhaps the words of the poet Lautréamont comes to mind. He was very acclaimed by the surrealists, in particular the phrase about ”the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table.”

The visually remarkable – Kjell Lundberg, Axel Andersson and Lena Permér

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