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The blue orange - Vara station house
Vara

Astounding art in blue

The Blue Orange evokes strong reactions. Some people find it hideous and a source of ridicule, while others think it’s vibrant and fun. This work of art has undeniably garnered attention both at home and from overseas.

It consists of the blue station building topped by colourful boulders and another nearby. The Blue Orange was unveiled in 2012 and is the creation of German artist Katharina Grosse.

The Blue Orange has turned the station building in Vara into a visitor magnet. Whether you like the work or not, it’s sure to stick in your memory once you’ve seen it. This work of art has generated discussion, it puts Vara on the map, helps to unleash creativity and development in society with its clear call to be happy at its uniqueness and open to the unusual – as was the intention from the outset. 

Work of art

The artist has explained that she had been reflecting on the notion of small communities with singular ideas when she received a request via Public Art Agency Sweden to do something with the station building in Vara. When she came to the community to take in the location, she found that it really was quite small – and a bit bland, perhaps. After having spent a few days in town and met with representatives from the municipality, she began to realise that the level of ambition was far greater than reflected by the physical environment. There were plans and ideas and projects already under way; the community worked with contacts throughout the country and with an international perspective. The concert hall was a success and the local authority was strong in its conviction that culture was truly needed to give residents and others courage and strength to pursue their plans; to think creatively and along new lines, to open up to outside ideas and to come up with their very own Vara mix as a survival strategy for changing times.

The boulders on the station roof are cut from styrofoam and coated with numerous layers of paint and varnish. The shapes are totally abstract and are generally referred to as boulders. Perhaps they are meteorites that have fallen from space down onto Vara, like a cascade of colour and shape that gives this small community amidst the plains an image of its own creative capacity.

The artwork was ultimately named The Blue Orange. This title comes from a poem by French poet Paul Éluard (1895-1952). The poem is entitled La terre est bleue comme une orange (The earth is blue like an orange) and plays with perceptions and expectations, looks at colours and appearances from all angles that seem to be but perhaps aren’t – or are much more than you thought?

Reactions

The Blue Orange has evoked strong emotions at times. Some people find it hideous and a source of ridicule, while others think it’s vibrant and fun, and it has met with appreciation both at home and from overseas.

The Blue Orange has turned the station building in Vara into an enduring visitor magnet. Whether you like the work or not, it’s sure to stick in your memory once you’ve seen it. It has done what was intended in every way – it has generated discussion, put Vara on the map, helped to unleash creativity and development in society with its clear call to be happy at its uniqueness and open to the unusual.

The artist

Colour plays a huge role in Katharina Grosse’s art, but more in terms of the relationships between colours, and colours and shape. The Blue Orange was initially intended to be pink, but the planned shade could not be produced in the type of paint needed for the building. So blue was chosen instead.

Contact information

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E-mail: turism@vara.se