Sculptures around Norway by internationally renowned artists. See all the sculptures See all the sculptures

Mothership with Standing Matter (2007-08)

The artwork Mothership with Standing Matter is a sculpture designed by Antony Gormley.  It is situated inside a pavilion designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta.

Antony Gormley (b. 1950)

Gormley is an accomplished British sculptor.  Since the early1980s he has mainly created works taking the human body as his subject.  He often uses his own body as mold for the sculptures. His most known works however, are of a much larger scale than his own body; for example the enormous Angel of the North (1998) located in Gateshead, England.  Gormley works with several different materials such as clay, fiberglass, cast iron, steel, metal, and granite.


Snøhetta is a Norwegian architectural firm which has made a name for itself internationally by winning several competitions with its innovative buildings.  Some of the firm’s notable works include the Library of Alexandria, Egypt, the Lillehammer Art Museum, Norway, and the New National Opera House in Oslo, Norway.

The place

Lillehammer is both a municipality and a town in the county of Oppland, Norway. It is located at the northern end of Lake Mjøsa. The town is the administrative centre of Oppland county. Lillehammer hosted the 1994 Winter Olympic Games.

The location of Mothership with Standing Matter in Lillehammer was important since this is also the location of one of Snøhetta’s first large projects, namely the Lillehammer Museum of Art.  Gormley also wanted his artwork to be situated in an urban location where people move around.  In this respect, Jernbaneparken in Lillehammer was an ideal location.

The sculpture

Mothership with Standing Matter is located at Jernbaneparken in Lillehammer and is the first thing that people see upon arriving to the city by train.  The sculpture by Antony Gormley stands upright inside a concrete pavilion. 

Through this sculpture Gormley explores the relationship of the human body to space at large.  The sculpture in Mothership with Standing Matter measures 190 cm in height.  It doesn’t have a uniform cohesive shape, but is comprised of steel balls of various sizes.  This gives it an ephemeral and transparent expression.  Some of the balls have accidently fallen off the sculpture and scattered onto the floor.  It is as if the sculpture is about to disintegrate.  The sculpture’s placement inside a compact room creates an effective contrast to the sculpture’s evolving character. 

-When I grew up in North London during the postwar era, everything had to be rational and functional. Today there’s more room to integrate art into the society, and I’m proud to be a part of this, says Gormley

Jernbaneparken in Lillehammer is a good location for the sculpture since it allows large numbers of people to experience the artwork.  Gormley uses his works in different ways to question people’s function and role in society; their relationship to one another either in hectic urban situations or in more deserted, remote locations. 


These are activities that you can do when you visit the sculpture. The activities are suitable for everyone, but are designed especially for children.

To answer the questions you must explore the sculpture and use your imagination and your senses. There are no right or wrong answers. Discuss with your companions and see if you all agree. 

  1. Study the sculpture and the building around it carefully. 
  2. What shapes is the sculpture made of? 
  3. Look into the sculpture from both ends of the building. Look at the background, too. Which side do you like best and why? 
  4. Make up a short story about the person in the artwork. 
  5. Take a picture of what you like best about the sculpture. 

Go ahead and share the pictures on Instagram or Facebook with #skulpturstopp


Photo: Una Hunderi

Gjøvik dansesenter dancing at the hand-over event.

Photo: Lars Erlend Øymo

Violinist Guro Kleven Hagen playing at the hand-over event.

Photo: Lars Erlend Øymo

Artist Antony Gormley inside the sculpture.

Photo: Lars Erlend Øymo

Artist Antony Gormley inside the sculpture.

Photo: Lars Erlend Øymo
Photo: Una Hunderi
Photo: Una Hunderi
Photo: Una Hunderi
Photo: Una Hunderi