Created After John Lennon’s Death, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd’s Knotted Gun Sculpture Is Now More Relevant Than Ever
A new, limited-edition version of the sculpture is being produced this year in honor of the work’s 30th anniversary.
Few works of art are as universally symbolic as Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd’s Non-Violence. A bronze sculpture depicting a Colt Python 357 Magnum revolver with its barrel tied in a knot, the work has become an international icon for peace and anti-gun sentiment.
“In a direct and uncompromisingly manner, [Reuterswärd] managed to turn an object, traditionally used for attack, defense and protection, into a symbol with a universal and clear message of non-violence and peace,” says Göran Christenson, the former director of the Malmö Konstmuseum in Sweden.
Non-Violence was created after the artist’s friend, John Lennon, was killed outside his apartment building in December of 1980. Commissioned by Lennon’s partner, Yoko Ono, it was first installed in 1988 outside of New York’s United Nations building, at a ceremony attended by Reuterswärd, Yoko Ono, and the UN Secretary General at the time, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
Since then, the knotted gun symbol has been adopted by various causes around the world. Today, it’s displayed in more than 30 public locations internationally (including a dozen in Sweden), such as the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland; the European Commission in Kirchberg, Luxembourg; and the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. It’s also become the official logo for the Non-Violence Project Foundation, a Switzerland-based non-profit promoting social change and educating young people about peaceful conflict resolution.
In recognition of the work’s 30th anniversary, the foundation, in collaboration with Hansen Fine Art—an art dealership and consulting firm based in Stockholm, Sweden—is selling a new foot-long version of the sculpture in an edition of 75. The sculptures can be ordered here. All proceeds will go back to the foundation.
What’s more, the original sculpture in New York will be “re-unveiled.” The ceremony will take place at the UN on October 2—the birthday of another great symbol of peace, Gandhi.
“The artist’s kind-hearted thoughts can, of course, be applied to every nation, but the artist’s message of non-violence is particularly powerful in America right now, where hundreds of senseless shootings have occurred in recent years,” says Elin Brodén, a director at Hansen Fine Art.
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