Plastic Viking I
There exist three statues of Thorfinn Karlsefni by Einar Jonsson today – two in Reykjavik and one in Philadelphia, USA. The latter was the first casting and put up in 1920. It was toppled in 2018 and dragged into a nearby river. Before that alt-right groups used the statue to hold demonstrations. The statue has not been put back up since then. Both statues in Reykjavik are still up today.
Einar Jonsson idealized the statue, since no image of Thorfinn Karlsefni existed. Simultaneously vikings in general have been and still are being idealized, glorified and romanticized today. They appear in TV shows, comic books, advertisements or passports. Their violent nature of raiding, slavery, rape and warfare has been deformed into a noble savage who is admired for his honor, trademanship and excellent sailing abilities. Today the violence is often reinterpreted as a form of hyper masculinity, a trait today’s society is allegedly missing desperately.
A copy changes meaning due to the context it is placed in. So does a viking.
PLASTIC VIKING I
Video, 08:12 min.