The sculpture describes the ugly duckling in the point of time, where it already has become a beautiful, white swan, but not yet to own knowledge. It is swimming in good distance from the other swans, of whom it feels attracted, but scared to mingle with, as it is just an ugly grey duckling. All of the sudden it gets the courage and looks down the water-mirror, where it realizes that it is a beautiful swan.
That very split second, where the ugly duckling looks at itself in the water-mirror, is the moment I have tried to withhold in the sculpture. To me this is the most important moment in the story – and the release.
The symbol is massive and can immediately be transferred to our own lives and relations to the surrounding world. Even though the principle of “just who do you think you are” says, you are nothing, you must not believe it, but instead find your inner swan and learn to accept it and care for it. That is what the story seems to tell. To do this you have to look yourself in the eyes. This truth apparently is very banal, but probably one of the most difficult things to do. Many people live a whole life and die without discovering their own self-esteem.
Philosophers from Kierkegaard to Sartre and poets from Andersen to Tolkien have used a lifetime to describe this schism. As Hans Christian Andersen says: ”At first you have to go through so very much, and then you become a beautiful swan.” It might be that the hardships you go through are what make you a sterling character, and who knows the horror might be a basis to become a beautiful swan.
|2003: Fra ælling til svane|