Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Coldest Place in Town

The final site where the fire ended up being installed is an unused plaza off of the Langatta.  The building is left over from the early 70's and reflects the socialist design tendencies of those years.  An acquaintance of mine remarked that the "terrible building should be burned to the ground."  The plaza is underused because the layout of the architecture around the space brings in gusts of wind off of the fjord in an unfortunate way.  The space literally becomes a wind tunnel in between a pedestrian shopping street and an auto route.  The result is that even during the summer the plaza is one of the coldest spots in the town.  One resident told me that they have tried to have events there such as barbeques and concerts, but the winds are just unbearable.  

Three of Norway's oldest churches burned to the ground during the final stages of finishing this painting.  The causes of the fire were unknown at the time, yet arson was not suspected.  Norway has had a problem in the past with church arson.  Black metal enthused teens seem to share the brunt of blame for these arsons.   

Took some serious drilling to get through portions of the wall, and at one point a guy came out and yelled at me in Norwegian.  I told him I only spoke English, and he explained that he was an ear doctor, was conducting hearing tests inside, and my drilling was driving him nuts!  We stopped until he was through with work - 3:30 pm.

The day of install was after a storm that had passed through the previous night.  What the storm left were terrible winds for us to deal with.  At one point one of the panels that was leaning against a wall blew over and smashed face down on the concrete.  I was informed of this later.  Fortunately, there were only a few scratches to be found, which I touched up the next day.  Also, the construction site next door seemingly expanded overnight. (it was not there when the spot was originally chosen for the painting.)  The high winds blew sawdust onto the panels which adhered to the varnish and paint that was not quite dry.  So the pristine conditions of the studio yielded to nature, and the deterioration of the image, which is what the project was all about, started with a bang.  I went home later that night feeling a bit deflated.