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Gert Nielsen, 1989

About the work

In front of the entrance to Vejle Municipality’s administration, there is a two-meter-high torso of bronze.

The torso is a very abstract body – with arms like tubes protruding from all sides of the body. The artist himself has chosen the place in front of the administration building, which he called “the transition from house to landscape”. This “character on his way from the administration into the open” is in a hurry to get out into the fresh air.

The sculpture was created by Gert Nielsen in 1989, but was not erected until 1990, when it was acquired by Vejle Municipality with a grant from Statens Kunstfond.

Try walking around the sculpture to spot the different body parts. The artist Gert Nielsen often uses fragmented body parts as a metaphor for life’s diversity and changeability. It is almost as if a new body breaks out from inside the old one, like a butterfly freeing itself from its pupa – finally air and freedom from the administrative and bureaucratic system indoors.

Torsos – bodies without arms and legs – are a well-known motif in art history. Particularly famous is the ancient Greek Belvedere torso, which also lacks arms and legs. Artists have often been fascinated by the torsos from antiquity, broken by the tumbles of the past. What would they have looked like if we could see the complete, ideal body? Our knowledge of our own bodies and our ability to fantasize help the eyes complete the unfinished sculpture, so we understand the arms, chest, and stomach, even if only suggested by the sculpture.

The sculpture is made of bronze, which is a classic sculptural material used since ancient Greece. Bronze is suitable because it is weather resistant, but also because it can be melted and shaped into all shapes. And then it gets more beautiful with patina, the green coating that forms on the metal over the years. Bronze is an exclusive and expensive material, so it is not for everyone to work in.


About the artist

Gert Nielsen (1926-1993) is a German-Danish sculptor. As a German soldier during World War II, Gert Nielsen was captured in Russia in 1944. After the war, he settled in Denmark and in 1950 was admitted to the Art Academy in Copenhagen. Nielsen uses an abstract and very expressive design language, inspired by artists like Marino Marini and Henry Moore among others. The materials are often wood, bronze, marble, or plaster.

Kort over Vejle midtby

Sculp­ture guide

The sculpture guide provides you with an overview on some of the sculptures there is to be found in Vejle. Go for a walk downtown and experience the art.

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