From the beginning, when Kistefos-Museet was planned, the ambition was to build a sculpture park at Kistefoss. One sculpture already existed on the property; Ståle Kyllingstad's Installation from 1948, consisting of a white painted Pelton wheel mounted obliquely on a plinth. Pelton wheels were in their time used at the power station, and the sculpture was left as a reminder of the power station's heyday on the factory lot.
The first few years after the museum's opening in 1999, the park was expanded with mainly Norwegian works of contemporary sculpture. The granite sculpture Tid by Nico Widerberg, Beate Juell's Hingst of stainless steel and porcelain, Kristian Blystad's Lekenede Hest, Bjarne Melgaard's Octopus and Kjell Nupens two jars, Mediterraneo and Stille, Stille, were placed at favorable locations on the site during the museum's first three years of life. In 2001, a bust of the founder of A/S Kistefos Træsliberi, Consul Anders Sveaas, was unveiled. It was designed by sculptor Nils Aas. In 2002, it was followed by another sculptureby a Norwegian sculptor; Blå Tulipan by Edgar Ballo.
However, the same year, the sculpture park took a more international turn with the unveiling of sculptures by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero and the Englishman Tony Cragg. In 2003, the sculpture park contained 12 individual works including that year's acquisitions Christen Sveaas by Anne Karin Furunes and Samuraiens ridedyr, den tredje dagen by Siri Bjerke.
The year of 2005 was devoted to Italy at the Kistefos-Museet. On the opening day, the sculpture Movimenti della Memoria, by the Italian contemporary artist Fabrizio Plessi, got unveiled. Until then, none of the works in the sculpture park had been created specifically for the museum based on the former production in the wood pulp mill at Kistefoss. Plessi's sculpture became the first commissioned work that specifically dealt with the activity that once took place in the mighty industrial hall.
During the years 2005 - 2008, there were seven additions to the sculpture park, two works by the Norwegian-Danish artist duo Elmgreen and Dragset, an installation by the Japanese artist Shintaro Miyake, two new sculptures by the Englishman Tony Cragg, the fascinating Energy, Matter, Space, Time by the Welsh artist Petroc Sesti and last, but not least, Anish Kapoor's S-Curve, which was placed on an island, specifically built for the sculpture, in the river Randselva.
In 2009, the park was expanded with another 'site specific' sculpture. Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen were commissioned to create a work of art especially for the museum. The sculpture Tumbling Tacks is heavily inspired by the site's industrial history, with paper as a common denominator for both drawing pins and wood pulp that were once manufactured at A/S Kistefos Træsliberi. The sculpture is included in the world-famous artists' 'Large Scale Projects', which has so far exclusively been implemented in urban settings in art metropolises like New York, Berlin and Tokyo. The projects get formed in the artists' meeting with specific environments and the places' historical context.
In 2011, it was the British artist Marc Quinn's (b.1964) turn to make his mark on the amazing sculpture park. The sculpture All of Nature Flows Through Us is located in the middle of the river at the water fall Kistefossen's outlet. The sculpture, which is made of bronze, depicts an enlarged iris. The iris pattern is carefully cut into the surface, in relief, and the black pupil is replaced by a cavity where the foaming water from the waterfall flows through the eye before it again becomes a part of the natural river bed. Nature flows, literally, through the enormous bronze eye.
In 2013, the sculpture Pulp Press (Kistefos), 2013 by the Irish artist John Gerrard was unveiled. In 2014, we unveiled the sculpture Slektstrea, Genbanken of Per Inge Bjørlo. In 2015, we unveiled the sculpture Free to Frolic by Phillip King. In 2016, two new major works were unveiled in the sculpture park. These were Path of Silence by Jeppe Hein and River Man by A-Kassen.
At the seasonal opening in 2017, the site-specific sculpture The Ball by the Russian-American artist Ilya Kabakov was unveiled. The sculpture has got a spectacular location close to the river Randselva. In August 2017, another site-specific sculpture was unveiled. This was Castor & Pollux by British artist Tony Cragg. Castor & Pollux is Cragg's fourth work in the sculpture park, but the first that is site-specific.