Thursday April 25th, a 3×3 meter brown “Gallery Galschiøt” tourist sign was put up on the Funen motorway E20. The sign is a culmination of a longer approval procedure, where Galschiøt has been assessed and found to be of such high value that we can get a brown sign. The sign is located on the motorway at the Tietgenbyen exit 48. At the same time, this gave us the opportunity to get 10 signage signs that guide towards the gallery throughout Odense.
This may be the most progressive sign on a motorway in Europe.
The sign captures the entirety Galschiøt’s visual universe and tells in the most exquisite manner what one can experience by visiting Gallery Galschiøt. It is 7 of the artist’s most well-known and controversial art fairings, depicted in silhouette on the big motorway sign.
‘Survival of the fattest’, 2012 – The original sculpture is of copper and 3 meters tall. A giant overweight justice goddess (Justitia) with her scales in her hand on top of a starved man. Her motto is “I sit on the back of a man – he is about to collapse under my burden – I will do everything to help him except to step down from his back.” The sculpture is a commentary on the sense of justice of the Western world, where we have much of the wealth on earth, while preaching democracy, equality, freedom and brotherhood without sharing with others. The sculpture stands in both Ringkøbing and Galschiøt’s workshop and is one of his most famous sculptures.
‘H.C. Andersen in a queer time’, 2012 – The original sculpture is 2 meters tall, and is a sculptural commentary on the academic discussion on the reading of H.C. Andersen’s works with a queer perspective. The sculpture is composed of two classic sculptures the “Venus de Milo” and Bissen’s “H.C. Andersen’s portrait” from 1864 and shows Andersen’s femenine sides and discusses how he could have reacted to a time when it is not unusual to flirt with his gender identity… The sculpture created much debate as it was launched in connection with a large collection for breast cancer.
‘Unbearable’, 2015 – The original sculpture is 7x3x10 meters and was made for the climate summit Cop 21 in Paris. It consists of a giant scientific graph about CO2 accumulation over the past 300 years. Speared on the graph is a polar bear hanging at a height of 7 meters. It has, since Paris, been set up in front of the Folketing, at Cop 23, in Bonn and countless other places.
‘The Pillar of Shame’, 1995 – The sculpture is 9 meters high and made to mark and remember massacres and abuses in the world. The first sculpture marked the massacre of Tiananmen Square in June 4, 1989, when students were killed by the Chinese military and tanks, who crushed the dream of democracy and human rights in China.
There were over 100,000 participants when the sculpture was erected permanently in Hong Kong in 1997, just before Hong Kong was taken over by China. It now stands at the Hong Kong University and is protected by 10,000 students and is the only memorial there is about the massacre on Chinese soil.
The setting up of the sculpture cost Galschiøt a permanent entry ban in China and two times an expulsion from Hong Kong. It is this year (2019) the 30th anniversary of the massacre, and therefore Galschiøt chose that this sculpture should be in the centre of the sign to honour the memory of the students. On the sculpture, one of the most famous poets in China, Szeto Wah, has made a very beautiful calligraphy, which reads “The nation’s trauma”. The Pillar of Shame is also set up in Mexico and Brazil.
‘Freedom to Pollute’, 2002 – A 6 meter tall Statue of Liberty that sends up pillars of smoke from her torch. In the constitution she holds in her hand, the text was changed to “Freedom to Pollute”. The sculpture has been included in countless art manifestations around the world to put focus on the Western world’s demands for freedom of growth and senseless consumption, no matter what the consequences are for our shared planet.
‘In the name of God’, 2007– 6 feet tall crucified pregnant teenager. The sculpture focuses on the fact that the Catholic Church has introduced a ban on contraception (and sexual education).
The Catholic Pope John Paul II from Poland introduced the absurd dogma that God has determined that when a man and woman are sexually united, there must be the possibility of getting pregnant, “preventing this is outrageous and equivalent to 1000 abortions every time you have sex”. This prohibition of contraception applies to all, both inside and outside of marriage, and to all forms of contraception and is still valid for over one billion Catholics.
The contraception ban has been catastrophic in many countries, as it becomes impossible for them to have birth control and prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Especially many teenagers have become pregnant due to the ban. The sculpture has stood in front of the cathedral in Copenhagen and been set up in Kenya, Germany, Brazil and Nicaragua, and it is part of many books on Christianity and sexual education.
‘My Inner Beast’, 1993 – In November 1993, 22 tons heavy and 3 meters high sculptures were set up in extensive parts of Europe.
This is one of the greatest art happening / street art works ever made on European soil.
All the sculptures were erected illegally within 2 days and over 100 people helped with the project.
This was Galschiot’s first happening in public, and he made it to shed light on the fact that after the fall of the Berlin Wall we faced tipping points in our history, after which immigration will be greatly increased due to the social imbalance.
Either we shared our wealth and created a social and economic balance in Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa, so that the people could have a future in their own countries, or we built a new wall around Europe to keep the others out of our territory.
Galschiøt said that if we chose the new wall, we would enter into a (new) brutalisation and lose the basic principles of European civilization of freedom, equality and brotherhood. The text “Don’t feed your inner beast” is engraved on the sculptures. They are part of a number of art collections and are used in many contexts.
The original sculptures
The Big Brown and the Blues
Galschiøt has made a number of unique sculptures sold to provide financing for a brown motorway sign, crossing Odense from the highway and for a restructuring of the Gallery. The signs and rebuilding cost us alot to make. That’s why we started this art crowdfunding project.
These signs will help our gallery a lot, since we are one of the only art institutions, who receive no subsidies from state, municipality or foundations.
The big brown sign is being put up on the highway across Funen, at the Tietgen exit towards Odense. The sign is 3 x 3 meters, and show some of Galschiøts most famous sculptures.
We finance all of our huge projects at our own expense, and this gives us a tremendous independence that we are both proud of and very pleased with. A wild place like Gallery Galschiøt is not suitable for being dependent on anyone. But it is often difficult to make ends meet, and for a long time we have considered how we could make the gallery’s economy more stable. We earn a living by selling sculptures, arranging conferences, meetings and concerts, giving lectures and teaching at our art school. In addition, we rent our buildings to homes and commercial premises. We have had 20,000 visitors in 2018, but we would like more. At the same time, we are rebuilding so that we can make larger conferences and concerts.
Gallery Galschiøts application
This is the application the gallery wrote to the committee in charge of the brown motorway signs. Here you can read why we wanted (and got) the spot for the 3×3 meter sign. This was written back in September of 2018, and now everything is happening!
This is why we last year had negotiations with the States Public Roads Administration and the City of Odense, about the possibility of a signage in the public space and approval for 4 – 500 people in the gallery.
Now everything is finally happening, and we are more than excited and proud! Thank you to every one supporting.