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Body Positive Norway: Pubic Public Art

August 28, 2009

So I don’t want this to become a just a travel log of me in Norway, but there is some seriously kickass public art in Oslo. First, there’s this chilling downtown:
It’s actually only a piece of an exhibition at the Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design which featuresFrench-Brazilian artist collective assume vivid astro focus. The outdoor installation consists of the, well, giant inflatable vagina slide, and a stage where performances were held all summer:

Inside, is a retrospective of their wallpapers and wall work:
I LOVE all the artwork around the stage

But is that the only sex-toy art in Oslo? Of course not! This beauty is sitting right outside of Central Station:
Now I’m not saying the sculpture is necessarily a sex toy, but it is at least inspired by anal beads.

What I think is so interesting about these art pieces is not only their content, but how central they are. I’m sure there is a lot of great public artwork in the various hip areas around town, but these are downtown, right in the thick of things. The assume vivid astro focus exhibition is located behind the historic law quad of the University of Oslo, about a block away from the Royal Palace, and just a short distance from the Storinget (Parliament building). Similarly, the other sculpture is at an entrance to the central station, meaning anal beads could be the first thing people see when they arrive. The fact that the city is so willing (and so proud in the case of Vigeland’s Park) to have such body and sex positive art on display is really exciting. It’s especially cool to see how kids interact with the artwork. At Vigeland’s Park, children were playing all over the statues, intertwining themselves with the intertwing bodies.
And I’ve never walked by when I haven’t seen kids playing on the vagina slide:
I think it’s really healthy that kids can interact this way with bodies, being comfortable with the way bodies look, and not told that nudity is vulgar. The fact that these sculptures and artwork are so public makes body positivity seem the norm, rather than an aberrance, which I really appreciate. Could public art be an avenue towards creating a more body and sex positive society? I think yes.

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