Powerful Bronze Sculptures Tell the Story of European Migrants in Search of Utopia

Bronze Sculptures by Fredrik Raddum

Oslo-based Norwegian artist Fredrik Raddum is known for his imaginative figurative sculptures and installation art, which often explore political themes. His previous work mixes tragedy with humor, depicting surreal, dystopian cartoon figures that encourage the viewer to “think beyond the initial encounter.” Raddum’s most recent collection of bronze sculptures—titled Hacienda Paradise – Utopia Experiment—was exhibited earlier this year at Galleri Brandstrup, and sheds light on a true story of human immigration that’s now referred to as “The Galapagos Affair.”

In search of their new Eden, a group of world-weary Europeans left their homes to live on the Galápagos Islands in the 1930s. The first of the island expats to arrive was Friedrich Ritter, a German physician, and his younger lover, Dore Strauch, who settled on one of the most remote islands, Floreana. Next came the Wittmer family from Germany, and soon after came Baroness Eloise von Wagner, who arrived from Paris with her “two companions.” It wasn’t long after they arrived that the Baroness and one of her lovers disappeared. The case remains a mystery to this day.

Raddum’s sculptures show the pioneers in surreal, mysterious circumstances. In one piece, a bird tries to fly away with the brass body of a man. In another, a female figure stands atop two human heads, and seems to exhale a strange golden liquid. One giant turtle-shaped piece depicts the island legend of a turtle who could read the minds of the visitors. In Raddum’s piece, the shell is used as a place to make a fire. According the the artist, the exhibition reminds us that “we can change our surroundings, but we cannot escape from ourselves.”

If you’re a murder mystery fan, The Galapagos Affair story was made into a movie, directed by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller. You can also find more of Raddum’s work via his website and Instagram.

Artist Fredrik Raddum’s bronze sculptures tell the story of Europeans who left their homes and fled to the Galápagos Islands in the 1930s.

Bronze Sculptures by Fredrik RaddumBronze Sculptures by Fredrik Raddum

Their new utopia soon turned sinister when two of the pioneers went missing. The case remains a mystery to this day.

Bronze Sculptures by Fredrik RaddumBronze Sculptures by Fredrik RaddumBronze Sculptures by Fredrik RaddumBronze Sculptures by Fredrik RaddumBronze Sculptures by Fredrik RaddumFredrik Raddum: Website | Instagram
h/t: [Gaks Designs]

All images via Fredrik Raddum.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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