There are giants in the woods of western Copenhagen, and the Danish artist who created them is challenging locals and visitors alike to hunt them down. 

The sculptures are both giant and of giants; the formal title for the installation is The Six Forgotten Giants. The artist, Thomas Dambo, teamed up with volunteers to build the docile behemoths from old pallets, scrap wood, and other recycled materials, and he has placed them in the woods near six different suburbs: Rødovre, Hvidovre, Vallensbæk, Ishøj, Albertslund, and Høje Taastrup.

News of the sculptures hit airwaves last week. Since then, they have become a bit of a phenomenon.

Dambo dubs the project “an open-air treasure hunt” but has made the artwork relatively easy to find. He has published maps for each giant on his website, and each piece has a description that gives clues to its whereabouts. 

Each of the sculptures interacts with its environment in a way that forces people to do more than simply look. For instance, Teddy Friendly, the giant near Høje Taastrup, is sitting at the confluence of a lake and stream, but his arm is stretched out across the stream like a bridge for adventurers to traverse. Sleeping Louis, the one outside Rødovre, is laying on the ground with his mouth agape—providing a “natural” cavern for exploration or napping. 

Perhaps the most creative of the sextet, Oscar Under the Bridge, stretches from the ground below to the top of the railing of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Ishøj, inviting people to climb all over him. Dambo’s website says this sculpture was inspired by and named after a friend and artist from Chile. 

Most of the giants resemble Norwegian trolls—humanlike creatures with exaggerated features and longer-than-what-would-be-proportional limbs. Some of the sculptures also have crazy “hair,” either on top of their heads or dangling from their chins. 

If you’re wondering what inspired Dambo to embark on this whimsical mission, a YouTube video (in Danish, with subtitles) he created addresses the point well.

In the video, Dambo notes that the municipalities of West Copenhagen commissioned the work. Another person in the video also suggests that the areas with the sculptures aren’t commonly thought of as desirable or popular, making Dambo’s effort to get locals and visitors out and about to see them even more noteworthy. 

As of now, there is no timetable for when the sculptures will be removed. Nevertheless, summer is a great time to explore the Danish countryside. Happy hunting.

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