The erection of Epitaph – Artscape Nordland

In 1998 I was asked by the organizers of Artscape Nordland to build the stonework Epitaph in Flakstad Community in Lofoten. Japanese artist Toshikatso Endo had made a sketch drawing for the work as a guideline for the monument and a local entrepreneur did an attempt to build the monument but the artist turned down the result and this was my physical starting point.
I spent one year collecting stones and erecting the monument, slowly, all by hand, stone by stone. At that time in my life I had great joy in doing this work as an exercise both in building with stones as well as being focused on one singular work over a longer period of time. I enjoyed the local interest both from people, eagles and the nearby cheap stopping by and hanging around the area during my work period. I had an idea to be able to work also during the winter but my attempt to build a tent around the work site was pretty unsuccessful as most of the tent-canvas ended up a kilometer away down at the beach after the first little storm. And as the construction seemed to look like a circus tent and people joked about Circus Wanggaard coming to town, I concluded that this should rather be a summer season job.
Two local elderly people were killed by a snow-avalanche that same winter when their house was taken and brought over the road and into the sea. Nature is and has always been a central element in people’s life Lofoten. Giving and taking.
Next summer at the official opening of Epitaph I let loose two of my white pigeons from a small basket and they took off in joy and circled high up into the blue sky and soon found direction home.
The word EPITAPH can be explained literally as “on the gravestone”.

jan wanggaard

Epitaph : Material : Local handstone
Diameter : 8 meter
Higth : 5 meter 40 cm
Buildingtime : One year

Selfportrait, jan wanggaard, 1998