Kyltorvet, København, Denmark
Kyltorvet is a busy square in a busy city. People come and go. They hurry to meetings, stroll around shops, chat on mobile phones. But even in the hustle and bustle there’s a space for peace and quiet. A space these two elderly people have found. Here on this bench, they rest their feet, they watch the world go by, and they remember. Artist Hanne Varming’s 1989 statue shows her grandparents deep in thought. The work’s inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story called Hyldemor, which translates into English as something like ‘The Elder-Tree Mother’ or ‘Mother Elder’. In the story, a little boy sees a vision through the steam rising out of a teapot. It’s a vision of two elderly people, a husband and wife. And they’re sitting under an Elder Tree. Together, they’re trying to remember what day it was they married, and as they do so, they reminisce about other things…about their lives, and about how, when they were young, they planted the cutting that became the elder tree they’re sitting under today. But suddenly, the elderly woman isn’t elderly anymore. She’s young. And she’s standing side by side with the little boy. She gives the boy an elderflower, and he keeps it tucked away between the pages of a book. The past and the future are linked. They come from the same place, have the same roots as that elder tree. And both are always around us. Even in the hustle and bustle of a busy square in a busy city.