'Fideicommissum' - Atlas Obscura

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Wanås Konst
Knislinge, Sweden

A bronze, peeing self-portrait protests unequal inheritance rights. 


Near Knislinge in Skåne County, southern Sweden, Wanås Konst Sculpture Park features contemporary art pieces set in a beautiful landscape. Situated on the grounds of the 15th-century Wanås Castle, the park features approximately 70 outdoor installations by well-known, international artists, including Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, Janet Cardiff, and local Swedish talents.

One sculpture starkly contrasting with the park’s aristocratic setting is Fideicommissum. Installed near Wanås Konst’s pond in 2000 by Swedish sculptor Ann-Sofi Sidén, the bronze captures a moment of defiance. The life-sized female figure, a self-representation of the artist, crouches with pants down, calmly marking her territory while facing the castle. Inspired by classical male statues, the work incorporates elements from ancient Greek and Roman figures (including sculpted clothing folds, sandals, and hairstyle). However, the work deviates from classical body ideals found in these older representations.

The title, Fideicommissum, a Latin term, refers to a practice no longer in effect in Sweden: where the eldest son inherited possessions and exclusive rights. Upon the son’s death, the property, which could not be divided, was passed to the next male heir. The sculpture represents the artist’s protest against this unjust, historical tradition, advocating for equality.

Of all the park’s sculptures, the bare-bottomed bronze has garnered a lot of attention, said Marika Wachtmeister, founder of the sculpture park. Residing in the castle on the grounds, both she and her husband, Count Carl-Gustaf Wachtmeister, openly endorse the provocative statue and its message, staunchly adhering to the motto that “the artist is always right.”

A second figure can be found in Ekebergparken in OsloNorway.

Know Before You Go

The sculpture park is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As of 2024, admission is 175 SEK for adults and 150 SEK for students/seniors. During the winter season, the entrance fee is optional and paid through the Swedish mobile payment app Swish. 

Additional amenities in the park include indoor art exhibitions (from spring to autumn), a boutique hotel, and an organic restaurant (table reservation required).

Limited public transport makes a car the preferred mode of transportation to get here. Free parking is available at the entrance.

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January 31, 2024

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