Over the summer, the Morton Arboretum in northern Illinois welcomed some peculiar new guests: a whimsical tribe of wooden trolls. Crafted by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, these mythical creatures are the sought-after stars of the outdoor museum’s site-specific exhibit, Troll Hunt.
Troll Hunt invites the public to find six folkloric figures hidden within the arboretum: Niels Bragger, Furry Ema, Sneaky Socks Alexa, Rocky Bardur, Little Arturs, and Joe the Guardian. Full of personality, each troll plays a distinctive role in the forest, whether they’re keeping watch over their beloved trees or mischievously catching children in traps.
Like all of Dambo’s sculptures, each troll has been shaped out of reclaimed wood, illustrating the artist’s self-described ability to make “anything you can imagine out of trash.” While the figures’ gesturing hands, giant feet, and expressive faces were crafted in Copenhagen, their colossal bodies were built on-site. Once assembled, most of the trolls came to measure anywhere from 15 to 30 feet tall—though Little Arturs, the lounging figure, boasts an impressive 60-foot height.
To spot these curious creatures, each guest is given a Troll Hunter’s Handbook. When paired with the Arboretum’s tips, this magical guide helps troll hunters of all ages find the fairytale figures.
Troll Hunt will be on display at the Arboretum through the end of 2018. Depending on the weather, the enchanted exhibition may even extend into 2019.
Troll Hunt is an enchanting exhibit at the Morton Arboretum where you’ll find a curious cast of characters. They include: Niels Bragger, a “firm believer in carrying a big stick.”
Furry Ema, who clearly prefers the company of maple trees to people.
Sneaky Socks Alexa, who “appears eager to catch a few humans.”
Rocky Bardur, a troll with a temper.
Little Arturs, a big troll with an ever bigger appetite.
And Joe the Guardian, who “protects [the] woods from any outside threats.”
These fantastical creatures are accompanied by a Troll Hunter’s Handbook and a whimsical poem written by the artist himself.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Thomas Dambo.
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