Art at Strandveiparken

Artist: Jan Eirik Evjen. Title: ‘Hednings ferd’ 1991, nymontert/relocated 2014.

‘Hednings ferd’ (“Heathen’s journey”) has been on a long journey before it found its permanent place in the new Strandveiparken in 2014. The large wooden sculpture was on public display for the first time in Jan Eirik Evjen’s exhibition at Trondhjems Kunstforening in the spring of 1991. During the course of the exhibition, the artist bestowed the sculpture upon Trondheim municipality, for public display. This was the first time the municipality received a gift from an artist in this way. Two years later, ‘Hednings ferd’ was placed on a centre strip in Innherredsveien, near the exit for Nyhavna. It remained there until 2008, when it was removed due to expansive road and tunnel works undertaken in the area. Upon the completion of the new underground connection between Nyhavna/Innherredsveien and Strindheim in 2014, a new park, Strandveiparken, was established next to Lademoen rail station. ‘Hednings ferd’ was put in a central place in the park, nearly exactly in the same spot where it used to stand in the 1990s. Jan Eirik Evjen started working on the wooden sculpture in the early 1980s, using reclaimed wood put together in a seemingly random pattern. Around this time, Evjen became part of the artist collective at Bakke gård, where he completed the sculpture in time for the exhibition at Kunstforeningen in 1991, then under the title ‘Den siste hedning’ (“The last heathen”). In one end of the composite installation, Evjen had placed a roughly carved human figure, which appears as a concrete element against the abstract vessel. Compared to its surroundings in the 90s, with as yet undefined plans for this part of town, ‘Hednings ferd’ is now located in a much more established and defined urban environment. When the sculpture was placed here the first time around, industry along the river had recently ceased. This part of Trondheim was at a ground zero, and what direction it would take in further town development was up for debate. ‘Hednings ferd’ could be read as signifying a choice of values, where technical advances and material growth were not the be all and end all. Today the sculpture is back in its original place, in a new, consciously planned cityscape, still a little out of place, as if from a different era. There is a stark contrast between the statue’s surroundings in the 90s and today’s modern traffic and the new, tall buildings surrounding it, but the sculpture no longer stands alone as the sole representative for soft values, aesthetics and culture. In Strandveiparken, the sculpture has found a safe haven at the end of a long journey.