10 / 17 / 2014

“Pains of setting-up”


Dear Kate,

I am so tired; the setting-up was such an exhausting activity. I have pain all over; even my eyelashes are under stress. I just took a pill to relax my muscles. But the great body effort was worthwhile; the piece is standing there with great presence.

It was fantastic to run errands with you, to sort out the sand sacks, to drive down to Trieste listening to each other’s stories, to sort out permits and public requirements, to work with workers and to make the small decisions on site. This is the fantastic part of public art, the pieces change so much because of the context, and they demand such a great flexibility in mind.

Two moments of our setting-up were crucial for me: on the one hand, activating the space with the plastic tarpaulin that protected the cobblestones. That transparent surface of 3 metres by 40 metres was the omen of the piece to come, the pre-figuration of the weight the pedestrian street would endure. I enjoyed very much that by putting up that surface the relation with the space changed completely, people were cautious, the dogs observed the gigantic watery surface with great eyes and some of the persons established rhythms to walk and paces to avoid the surface. As soon as the pedestal was up, the plastic became even more important, the transparent surface transformed in front of us into a strange red carpet.


On the other hand, the arrival of the rock was so dramatic. Not in the bad sense, but in the theatricality this implies. It was such a great pleasure to see it coming. Somehow the cube looked much bigger than in the original place and finished our public work like a liqueur cherry. It was the moment of realization, with the stone in place something was also sitting inside, a strange satisfaction of work done.




Dear Naya,

The first section of our stone arrived in Trieste today accompanied on its journey by Mrs. Schober from the stonemason’s in Graz. When we chose it a few months ago, among the giant rocks in the yard that original stone seemed quite modest, but this morning even this fragment of it, one third, suddenly appeared huge. Led by Mrs. Schober, her hair in a long neat blond plait down the middle of her back, five of us heaved its 400 kilos from the back of the truck, rolling it precariously along poles down a plank of wood, and into its nest of sandbags on the Rose of the Winds.



Mrs Schober has worked at the stonemason’s for several decades now. She was not surprised when we asked her to preserve the splinters that fell away as the original great stone was split into three. Today she presented us with the box of these grey shards, together with the pieces of the hammer that shattered during the work.



Was the stone so resistant to being divided? Its entirety unites the three installations, Trieste, Graz, Sarajevo, each third existing only as a fraction unless pieced together in the mind of the viewer. Picking up these palm-sized shards and turning them over, they are solid – but speak of movement, of violent force, muscle, shattering, sweat. Many are smooth on top yet rough underneath. Some, like the stone, bear traces of weathering and lichen, and are veined with white and green scrawls that write strange secret messages across their grey surfaces. They are cold from their journey, splinters of ice like the one that pierces Kay’s heart before he is taken away by the Snow Queen to her palace, and kissed into forgetting his past.