American, b. 1941
Creature from Iddefjord, c. 2014
12 1/2 x 19 in. (31.8 x 48.3 cm)
© Martin Puryear, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery
Photo by Jeffrey Jenkins
This sculpture, installed outside Oslo’s central Deichman Library and proximate to the Oslo Opera House, is named for a notable fjord in southern Norway, from which 42 blocks of granite were quarried to construct it. On one side, the work appears as a flat plane; on the other, it is rounded and biomorphic. To walk through and around Creature from Iddefjord is a process of discovery. 

Although not visible from the maquette, Creature from Iddefjord has a different surface texture on each side: one side is a smooth, carved surface, while the other maintains the rough natural surface of split granite from when it was quarried. Of the work’s form, Puryear has said, “I think of it as a crouching creature, but also as a stone construction. One side is like architecture with a flat wall with a sharply cut opening, while the other side has a flowing, more organic shape.” Creature from Iddefjord was created with a similar process of construction to Puryear’s Guardian Stone in Tokyo, but here all of the smooth contours between pieces of granite were created with computer-guided cutting, and finished by hand-chiseling.