The Power of Nature Spiral

Posted by on Jul 25, 2011 in China, My Blog | No Comments

Power of Nature SpiralAn update from Changchun …sculpture city!

The past two days things have moved fast…..well , not fast on the ball front sadly. Still no news of it’s exact arrival date.But seeing the pictures of it have reassured me they are trying their best to get it done and delivered. I now understand that they are using a controlled explosive in the water to shock blast the steel into a perfect sphere. In Chinese this techniques is called “Boom” !!

So In the mean time I am giving birth to 2 meter standing spiral sculpture, to be cast in bronze. A committee member approved  the maquette  and with in minutes I  was drawing a large spiral on the floor,which we then used as the plan to form the steel around.   A posse of assistants was summoned and a space in the corner of the crowded hall was arranged. Thankfully right next to the door so I can catch some air now and again. The welding fumes and cigarette smoke from the workers is pretty noxious, though I am told 100% better than last week,when every one was making their armatures .
My spiral came together pretty quickly, only needing some minor adjustments ,which were duly  corrected by the team.

Whilst a lot of this was going on,I went for a stroll around the grounds and empty brick buildings that surround us. I found out the complex is in fact one of Changchun’s 28 universities. The  post modern mock Georgian look is to give it a learned western feel I presume….only decay has set in pretty quick .
It is empty because it is summer holidays….obviously. The gym hall is now the main sculpting hall.

The incredible range of nationalities amongst the sculptors here is certainly on of the greatest aspects of this symposium. The energy created by putting so many  (104) artist from so many different countries together makes for a powerful alternative to the  UN. The depth and sincerity of our conversations is almost overwhelming….for me a real dream come true , to be connected with so many other like minds ,all mostly of the same levels of experience and confident in our various disciplines. I will go into the diversity in more detail on another blog….but to give you an idea of the range of the global population I have been sitting , talking,walking,working with in the past 48 hours. -I just dined with a Bahrainian, a Saudi, a Sudanese who lives in Dubai and Serb. For lunch I sat with a Romanian,a Portuguese couple and gentleman from Andorra. Dinner last night was with a Trinidadian lady in a wheel chair and her son, a sweet  very little Tanzanian, called big Muma and a Chinese girl called 7.
In the day yesterday I put the world to rights with a wonderful  Zimbabwean, who lives in Botswana , called Shepherd.  I just had a quick chat in the elevator with an Israeli and quite gentleman from Belarus……So it goes on.

This afternoon we progressed well on the Power of Nature….as the spiral piece has now officially become known .We are wrapping it in wire mesh and  “butterflies” ,small  crosses of wood to help hold the clay to the mesh on the vertical areas. My Sunshine and her friend Olivia where a great help….but the art student who I have been allocated to help with the wire was certainly more talk than do…a green bottle of some heavy rice alcohol has quite a bit to do with it I think. If it carries on like today , I might well apply to trade him in.His promise was that we will be ready to put clay on the mesh in the morning . I have decided to make a stamped impression of as many human tools and technological devices I can find, into the clay on the outer faces of my triangular spiral. The symbolism being the futility of our human efforts to control the force of nature…..the eternal spiral. .Profound and basic I know, but it sounds good in Chinese and the tools,toys and junk, make a great pattern, that everyone can relate to.
We had a cool break mid afternoon and taxied out into the city to find a junk yard. Sunshine,myself and my new Bangladeshi friend  Alak, who makes great sculptural pottery and his translator found a random road side junk house..not yard ,full or real low level garbage…that the residents had kindly sort or started to sort into different piles…plastic,metal,paper etc. We scored a sack full of good bits and pieces to make impressions into the clay surface. Our poor translator girls were a little out of context….being true pop culture Chinese chicks, hardcore texters and KFC frequenters. It took them a while to see the delights of a grunge garbage scavenge. not their usual haunt,but I think they enjoyed it really!

So here ends the blog for today. I am always the last to leave the hotel lobby ….but it is very peaceful and mesmerizing with the trickling sound of water falling from the 30 foot ceiling .

PS I had a relatively safe and low key jog this morning ….a veggie market, a new Buddhist temple  ..with a freshly painted Buddha..looking suspiciously Tibetan…Ti Chi in the park and brave folk swimming in the city centre lake….very enjoyable to start to the day.