Jarle Rosseland
Monday, February 1, 1999



The Chicago Athenaeum Museum has commissioned a new work of public art for the Museum's International Sculpture Park in Schaumburg entitled "Vinland", by the noted Norwegian artist, Jarle Rosseland.

The new $200,ooo sculpture, which is scheduled for installation and dedication on May 29, 1999 in Schaumburg, Illinois, commemorates the 1,000- years anniversary of the Viking explorer, Leif Eiriksson and his discovery of the Americas in the year 1001 AD. This anniversary will be celebrated in 1999-2000 by the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland, as well as the North American countries of Canada and the United States. The celebration will be marked by exhibitions on the Vikings and by re-enactment of the historic voyage of Leif Eiriksson in replica Viking ships venturing back and forth between the United States and Norway during 1999-2000.

The sculpture is funded in part by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo; the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York and Chicago; the Norsemen's Federation in Oslo; the State of Illinois; and the Village of Schaumburg. Additional funds for transportation were given by the Norwegian municipality of Karmøy and shipping companies Knutsen OAS and Solstad.

According to the legend, Leif Eiriksson sailed from Greenland to what is now Canada as the first European explorer to discover the Americas or what he called "Vinland", named after wild grapes the Vikings found when they first set foot on American soil. The discovery had always been a part of myth until Norwegian captain Magnus Andersen sailed a replica Viking ship from Bergen, Norway to Chicago in 1893 during the World's Columbian Exposition. That voyage, for the first time, proved that Leif Eiriksson could have, in fact, made the voyage across the Atlantic and in ships commonly used by the Vikings at the turn of the first millennium.

Mr. Rosseland's sculpture, "Vinland", reminisces the Viking spirit of daring and adventure and also symbolically connect North America to the Northern Scandinavian countries during this celebration of Leif Eiriksson's 1,000- years anniversary.

The sculpture takes the form of a ship - 18 giant stones in varying heights, from 6 to 15 feet, arranged in the 65 - foot outline of a Viking ship. The sculpture immediately recalls England's Stonehenge and will spiritually convey the primitive strength and clarity of those early monuments. According to Mr. Rosseland, "Around the year 1000 AD, it was a Norse custom to bury the dead in boats or build tombs by erecting stones alluding to the form of a ship. The ship form stands as a symbol for the idea of death as a voyage into the unknown. The Norse buried their dead with a good supply of food and drink, horses and dogs, and both useful and decorative objects to accompany the Vikings on their final journey."

The stone for "Vinland" was quarried from Karmøy - the center of oil production in western Norway. Copper quarried from Karmøy was used in the creation of the famous Statue of Liberty - one of America's most treasured monuments.

"Vinland", in a sense, becomes a gigantic time piece, measuring the sun's angle and height over the horizon. The orientation of the sculpture points north toward Karmøy, Norway and measures time six hours behind Greenwich time. Inscriptions on the sculpture give accurate measurements of the planets in the years 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000. The University of Oslo has assisted the artist in determining exact measurements and the precision of the planetary movements and positions.

"I visualize the sculpture", continues Mr. Rosseland, "placed in The Chicago Athenaeum's Sculpture Park where people can find solitude to reflect on their own mental voyages of the spirit. The mighty rocks, their perfect setting of a voyage, the reflections of light and shades through dawn, daylight, dusk and night, and through altering weather, are meant to inspire the spectator to partake in his or her own private voyage through time."

Other inscriptions carved on "Vinland" come from Norse folklore and Viking navigation art traditions and are highlighted in gold leaf.

The sculpture will be a major work of contemporary art given to the people of Chicago and Chicago's Northwest suburbs and enjoyed by thousands of visitors at the Sculpture Park in Schaumburg states Chicago Athenaeum Museum officials.

Jarle Rosseland is one of Norway's most accomplished artists, painters, and sculptors. His prints, paintings, and tapestries are found in private and public contemporary collections throughout Norway. He is also celebrated in Europe with frequent museum exhibitions in France, Germany, and Scandinavia. His works have been shown in 16 museums in Canada and the United States. Plans are to install a retrospective of Mr. Rosseland's paintings, prints, and tapestries, including a rare collection of prints entitled, "Vinland Suite," that documents the Viking discoveries, at The Chicago Athenaeum at Schaumburg during the time his "Vinland" sculpture is installed at the Museum's International Sculpture Park in Schaumburg in May.

The Chicago Athenaeum maintains its International Sculpture Park in Schaumburg, Illinois. The 20- acre sits is beautifully landscaped and is open to the public and contains works of art by prominent artists from Japan, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, and the United States. The Park is located adjacent to the Village of Schaumburg's Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center on Schaumburg Road at Summit Drive. The Chicago Athenaeum opened its first extension. Museum Building I on Schaumburg's new Town Square, on December 12, 1998.

For more information, contact. Jarle Rosseland rossart@online.no or phone +47 22 54 89 90


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