Mattias Härenstam

Splashes from the Grail, Uppsala

Splashes from the Grail, 2021.
Pinetree, steel, light. Appr. 670 cm high.

Splashes from the Grail is permanently placed in the Ulleråker Park in Uppsala, Sweden. It was commissioned by Uppsala Municipal Art Collection. Light design by Svante Pettersson.
   The pine was cut just a few meters from where it stands today. When darkness falls the charred and hollowed out tree, lights up from inside with light radiating from the open top and rifts and cracks along the sides of the trunk
    Splashes from the Grail is the title of a collection of poems by Swedish poet Gustaf Fröding (1860 - 1911). It was published in 1898, the same year as Fröding was admitted to the Ulleråker Asylum. Ulleråker was for over 100 years the largest mental institution in Sweden, but now the immense park on the hospital grounds will be developed into a residential area. Gustaf Fröding remained at Ulleråker for almost 10 years. The opening lines of his poem Splashes from the Grail would roughly translate:

Where to find the grail no one knows, but deep in all things the sparks secretly remain of the light that lived in the drink of life. You only need to rub two things together or to combine two, that sparks from it should go. And sometimes a glimmer of light blaze from rotten trunks, though fleeting and cool — a remnant of the light from the Grail.

Hvar Gral är vet ingen, men djupast i tingen bo gnistorna hemligen kvar af ljus, som i lifsdrycken var. Det kräfs blott att gnida med sida mot sida två ting eller sammanslå två, att gnistor därur skola gå. Och stundom det flammar ur murknade stammar en ljusglimt, fast flyktig och sval – en kvarstod af ljuset från Gral.