Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Like glass - 43 days til opening

Yesterday, Gord opened The Globe & Mail to Marsha Lederman’s article on the front page of the Arts Section.

"PUTTING OLYMPIC ART ON ICE", it headlined . . . . . "Gordon Halloran and a crew of craftsmen have been busy preparing a painted frozen artwork that promises to be a monumental addition to the Winter Games."

See the whole article at:

Now as the earth turns, minutes are added to the sunny side of each day. At the hotel, the Christmas trees were whisked from the lobby over the holiday weekend, and there’s an eerie silence – no more dreaming of a white anything. Instead, there is a huge sign beside a tv screen on the wall announcing that this is the official hotel of the International Olympic committee. And Wang Shu Gang's 'Meeting' outside on the lawn as if it were already spring.

We celebrated those cozy, sentimental, hyped-up several days of gift giving and merrymaking, surrounded.

Christmas Eve, Tracy’s ‘Nonno’ her Italian grandfather, his three sons and their open-hearted families hosted us in a small kitchen in East Vancouver.

Home grown tomato sauce, Abruzzo fish and home made wine. We couldn’t help but remember our 2006 adventures in Turin.

Christmas Day, after our time-honoured tradition of ball hockey on icy tennis courts, after festive hats around the family table, we toasted to Patrick – who spent his first Christmas in Afghanistan.

After turkey and sweet heirloom confections,

after phone calls to family in other parts of the world, after lights on the tree melted into darkness, that weird feeling of nostalgia and sadness crept in, an unshakeable, mortal feeling, profound and unsettling, like waking up at dusk after napping too long. A shared but dreaded let-down; at Christmas we witness our loss of innocence even as everything conspires to bring us back to that child-world of hopeful, eternal days when everyone you loved was alive, when Santa Claus still existed and anything dark was held at bay by the soothing words of a capable parent and a lifetime yet to be lived.

Monday, the engineer’s signature for the wall finally inked the paper after a year of planning, designing, constructing. Kudos to Allan May.

Today, after our first day back in the gulag, all admitted to being ‘stuck on the sofa’ and ‘totally wiped’. Talk at our Artigiano table was reflective and constructive.

Erik and Jaz have worked as crew since the 2006 installation and are beginning to understand the complexity of creating works in this scale - works which are truly ephemeral.

Erik admitted relief to work the rest of the year as the author of his own creation, but now enjoys being part of the team, as the ‘pressure is off’ and full responsibility is not on his shoulders. “In Chicago,” he says, “the skyscrapers were watching.” "There are days, " Gord admitted, "when the importance of it all escapes me."

Here, the ice freezes so fast, it makes bigger, thicker pieces of sculpture possible.

And, unlike ever before, here there are clear pieces, which freeze like glass.

Photos by Jaz Halloran, Caitlin Hicks and Allan May.