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The rock beast

Title and year
The rock beast, 1996

Moseløkke granite from the island of Bornholm

Claus Ørntoft, b. 1959

The old town hall in Rådhusgade i Aabenraa


There is a concentrated power in Claus Ørntoft’s sculpture The rock beast, which dwells on the steps of the old town hall in the heart of Aabenraa. Children who jump on its back for a ride, newlyweds passing by, shoppers laughing and talking – The rock beast takes the hustle and bustle of urban life with unshakable calm.

This beast, which is thousands of years old, has been inspired by the Icelandic sagas and Nordic mythology. The artist has exposed the beast in the ancient granite, almost as if he had excavated some prehistoric creature, giving it new life. The same could be said of the steps on which it crouches, which are fashioned from the same granite as The rock beast itself. Ørntoft’s choice of material and form bear witness to another important source of inspiration: the Romanesque figures of chiselled rock found in Danish medieval churches.