Outside Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland, Danish artist Esben Klemann’s artistic intervention Shortcut (Genväg) is installed in front of a newly constructed multifunctional building at the Tofta Firing Range garrison. Taking its starting point in, and forming part of, the nature park of rocky ground and a pine forest, the artwork is an almost 63-metre-long concrete sculpture that paves the way through the landscape and will over time become increasingly nature-lik
Curator Marianne Jonsson on Shortcut
Outside the multifunctional building, the monumental concrete artwork cuts through the landscape like a straight line, while respecting the character and conditions of the landscape. Creating a spatiality in dialogue with the site and nature, the work makes the nature park accessible and invites us to use it. Functioning as a place for reflection and rest, Shortcut can also be used as a path and a passage – a shortcut. The concrete’s barren yet soft expression and its materiality will gradually merge with nature and the site, as moss, lichen and pine needles become part of the artwork.
Esben Klemann’s art practice is characterised by his unique approach to, and ability to express himself through the materials that form such an important part of his art. Working sensuously and organically, Klemann employs a poetic and geometric idiom, in works mainly composed of concrete.
The artwork is spatial. It refers to and converses with the rauks, the sea stacks, of Gotland and the magic of the island, the light and the white reflections in the limestone; the barren limestone plain and the vasts, stone walls that both protect and enclose. The encounter with the artwork, limestone soil and the operations of the garrison creates a sense of immersion and provides added value to the visiting units and to those who work at Tofta. The public can also view the artwork on the garrison’s annual open day.
Klemann employs a poetic and geometric idiom, in works mainly composed of concrete. Says Marianne Jonsson.
The Tofta Firing Range with Abundant Flowering and High Natural Values
The new garrison at Tofta Firing Range is one of the major defence projects that is part of the expansion of the Swedish Armed Forces’ operations on Gotland. In the future, the site may house a new mess building, additional office buildings and installations.
Comprising 2,200 hectares with high natural values, the area features several types of landscape: open grasslands, lichen, wetlands and rocky ground pine forest. Thanks to the military operations in the 20th century the area was not overgrown. Sporadically used natural land is kept open and creates the conditions for a rich flowering – a type of nature for which Sweden has special responsibility in Natura 2000, the EU’s network of protected areas.
On Esben Klemann
Born in 1972, Esben Klemann lives and works in Copenhagen. Educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, he graduated in 2002. Klemann has produced numerous public art interventions and participated in a great many group exhibitions in Denmark and in Europe. He has been awarded several grants, including from the Danish Arts Foundation and the Danish Public Art Agency.
Find the artwork
Tofta Skjutfält, Visby, Sverige