1988, Aluminum, 10′ tall
Heli-Arc is the most sophisticated form of welding. Argon gas and electricity is used to remove impurities from the atmosphere so that perfect welds can be achieved. I saw the potential in fabricated aluminum immediately. Starting with the shaping of the Viking’s horns I improvised my way down the sculpture freestyle. The most exciting part for me is the process of discovery.
The Viking tells the love story of an ordinary sailor with an extraordinary capacity to love. In this case, a young Nordic man sailed the world searching for an impossible treasure in order to win the love of his life. He triumphantly returned, defying all odds, only to discover he was betrayed. Distraught, he turned his back on emotion. He forged the impossible treasure into metal armor, encasing himself from the world. Inanimate, he stood immobile throughout the years. Not until a new civilization grew up around him did his pent-up emotions explode in a swath of destruction to everything around him.
He sought to separate himself once more from humanity, but it was a terrible trap. With each recurring rampage, his heart turned more and more to stone, and finally, after enough time and pressure, he fused into metal. Subsequently, his shape transmogrified, no longer resembling a man, but some monstrous, horned behemoth. With his heart unable to fully die, nor his spirit ever dissolved, he’s ensnared alive in a metal world.
Never in a millennia could he imagine that rehabilitation was possible, being convinced his soul was forever damned. It wasn’t until someone heard his tale and cried for him that the healing began. He experienced the love of another, and at last, began to understood his true nature. By making himself unlovable and unapproachable, the Viking selfishly held onto his rage ironically wallowing in rather than rejecting his emotions. He blamed others, when in fact, he betrayed himself more so than the one whom his heart desired. Suddenly, salvation and redemption became real. By making peace with himself, his soul was at last free to escape his self-imposed prison. All that remains to remind us of his tragic tale is an empty metal shell.