Urds Brønd (eng. Urds Well from North Mythology) is a collective art installation by Loreal Prystaj and Christel Pilkaer Thomsen. The project evolves around our connection to the nature surrounding us while incorporating the land as an archive for forgotten stories. Inspired by Nordic Mythology and Scandinavian folklore, Urds Brønd combines the mystical with the material world, the sacred with nature, and art with the ritual.
Encapsulated in a glass box that transforms into a reliquary, casts of body parts, tree bark, snails, and fungi are dissolved and preserved as a bog finding or a spiritual relic. The project was developed in and about Aarhus and Ry and therefore uses tales, folklore, and archeological findings from the area of Midtjylland in its creation and as its foundation.
The body is a liminal being both physical matter and mystical spirit. Hence, the installation epitomizes the abstract and figurative of one and the other. Here the body is at the same time whole and broken into pieces. Materializing both you and I individually while also representing a collective we. The body consists of body casts of both artists and natural findings from the local area of Ry og Skanderborg in Midtjylland. In the installation the individual pieces transform into one body and one spirit.
Urds Brønd is an incarnation of a lost Nature spirit. It’s a visualization of a nonvisible interior. The installation symbolises a forgotten time where a river may have contained a spirit, a tree was a symbol of a man’s life, a snake embodied wisdom, and a mountain would contain a great demon.
By re-imagining tales from Old Norse Mythology and Nordic folklore the art installation tries to awaken a forgotten language, a connection to the land and Nature that might still be buried deep in our unconsciousness, buried deep in our land, in our bogs, rivers and lakes. And even today still materialized in the trees, plants, fungi, and animals inhabiting our world.
Re-awakening these old stories can be a useful tool, totem, and guide for us to better understand the world which we are a part of and how to care for it. These old stories were never lost, simply forgotten in our busy and loud world today, where we might have neglected to sit still, breathe in and listen to the stories archived in our land, in our cultural identity, and in our collective unconsciousness. Stories like these are immortal pathways and portals that map out the past, present, and future. Like the disassembled pieces of the installation Urds Brønd, these stories mirror ourselves individually and collectively while bringing the past to the present and the present to the future.