This installation had next to no financing and possible security risks. An exhibition was to be mounted in Stortorget in Malmö, a very large square with a big statue. The statue represents Karl X Gustav, the king who won Scania back from the Danes. The big king sits on a beautiful horse, with his back turned towards Denmark. The monument is almost three stories high, and it dominates the square. Whatever put on the ground next to it will be overshadowed by King Karl. It seemed self-evident that I had to work with the existing monument.
The king does not look very pleasant, but the horse is incredibly beautiful with his billowing mane and tail. You cannot but like the horse and feel pity for him. It’s a shame that the horse has to carry such an overweight rider and that is has been used as a symbol of power and as a tool in warfare. I wanted to underscore the beauty of this animal, build a staircase leading up to it so that people could look at it at close quarters and pat it on the nose. It wanted to give it a new signification.
The result was one staircase going up and one going down and a passage in between. Everything was constructed from scaffolding with a great deal of precision by a company that sponsored the project. Petting the horse was a pleasurable and good-humoured installation. It was loved by all; even people who were afraid of heights climbed up. From the elevated position you also got a whole new perspective on the square – as the horse sees it. His nose became quite shiny from all the pats. Many people took photos of each other close to the horse’s head, and they sent text messages to their friends who then also came. The exhibition had to be prolonged by one week.
The citizens of Malmö were taken by surprise when their familiar environment suddenly was totally different. To be sure, these were temporary changes but completely different from traditional annual changes like the return of Christmas displays. These surreal, crazy pranks challenged the possible and said “come and dance with me”, “come out and play”. See for yourself what is happening here. The installation remain as pictures and as memories from the event. The memories of the experiences are superimposed on the images of the locations as they usually appear; they give them a new history and hold a promise of undreamt of possibilities.