Thursday, August 26, 2010

Start to Mid Bergen Rocks 2010

Bergen Rocks 2010, international Sculpture Symposium

This post and the previous two document the event. We have so much fun and do so much work in the short 1 month that it isn't possible to post pictures of everything but if you follow through these you'll get a rough idea of what happens along the journey of creating works of art that will last in our society for millenium into the future. The site is open to the public throughout the event so people can see these sculptures being created and if they like can even have a chance to assist in the creation process. (volunteers are always needed and welcome)

This isn't really the begining of Bergen Rocks 2010, plans and preparations have been taking place since Nov 09. Two weeks ago we took a four day trip to Vernon BC to locate stone, these are the boulders that will be turned into fantastic works of art over the month of July. All of them are marble, Saeid is the only sculptor that will use sandstone this year. This truckload of stone arrived on June 28 and at the same time that Peerapong arrived from the airport. He climbed onto the trailer before his stone was unloaded and inspected it. His comment when asked if it was a good one. "I love my stone". I'm sure it is going to be lovable to all in a month's time. This is Saeid's sandstone and my girlfreind Christine. We noticed a crack in the stone that wasn't evident when we loaded and brought it here. So, we cleaved it with wedges and blocked the larger top piece up for the crane to take off when the marble arrived.
The Participants

Peerapong Doungkaew-Thailand
Peerapong was a participant in Bergen Rocks 2008 where he created "Movement in Space" from sand stone. Everyone that visits the Bergen Sculpture Park enjoys this sculpture`. This year he is working in marble, his sculpture will be titled "Rising Sun".
Saeid Ahmadi-Iran
Saeid has lived in Ukraine for 17 years but is still an Iranian citizen. He is exploring stress and tension for his Doctoral thesis. The sculpture he creates here will be a part of that study and titled "Repression"

Domenico (Tony) Di Guglielmo/Canada
Tony is the first Canadian to participate, he's from Quebec. I spent a month in Russia with Tony and his wife Ermenia in 2008, they have new grandchildren and Ermenia stayed in Quebec to help their daughter out with the twins. Tony is creating a piece titled "Canuck", it will be exciting to see it finished.

Tanja Roder/Germany
Bergen Rocks 2010 is symposium number 45 for Tanja. She has monumental torsos placed throughout Europe, New Zealand.....She also has one in St John Port Joli in Quebec. We are so pleased to host Tanja and assist her in realizing another sculpture that will be enjoyed by Canadians until long after the story of it's creation is lost.
Mohamad Reza Yazdi/Iran
Mohamad is a brilliant young man, already having been credited with several important sculptures in his home country. We are glad to host him in Canada where he will create a sculpture of a goat, an animal that is important in the culture of his home country. I'm looking forward to the next month working with Mohamad, his sculpture will be beautiful and help to share his culture with us for a long-long time to come.
Carlos Rafael Valazquez Darias, Cuba
The short video above shows how Carlos was treated, by our consulate in Cuba (his stone behind the tractor) as a professional artist who would come to Canada and create an art work that would be enjoyed by our society for centuries into the future. He has sculpted in Quebec and at Bergen Rocks 09 demonstrating that he is willing to come to Canada and share his artistic talents with the public and other artists. This year he was refused a visa dispite letters of support from Sculptors Association of Alberta, Stone Sculptor's Guild of North America, Prairies 2 Peaks Tourism and MP Blake Richards.
In other countries visiting artists are treated with the same regard as atheletes regarding permission to visit. Can you imagine the outcry if a member of a hockey team from another country was denied the opportunity to visit and contribute his/her talents to us (and for the duration of a competition) Saeid was also refused and Mohamad but appeals with the letters of support we were able to get that decision reversed for them. Saeid's visa was issued on July 12, halfway through the symposium and Mohamad on July 5...but at least they got here. Last year Gerard Oroo Montondi (gold medalist in the 2008 Beijing Sculpture Olympics) was also refused as was Chander Parkash, also an internationaly recognized artist. Big Thanks to Blake Richards and his staff for their efforts assisting us to get these artists here, without that I am pretty sure that Mohamad and Saeid would have been staying home too.

This is me, Morton. I have a blast doing this kind of thing.
Tanja's stone is the largest (about 12,000lb) It still amazes me that in a months time these stones will be incredible works of art.
We started on Tony's stone by making a cut on the bottom and one side but the second cut didn't cleave the stone right through because it wasn't very thick. Tony is drilling the ledge and will cleave it off with wedges.

We couldn't do it without volunteers, Brad Callihoo from Edmonton came down several times. He cooked meals, cleaned up the site, ran to town for things, assisted the sculptors, pretty well anything we needed to have done.....and he only has one leg. If it wasn't for the volunteers that come from all over Western Canada to help make the event a big successwe wouldn't be able to keep it open to the public. Volunteers came from as far away as Kelowna this year.
Mark Stuthiet from Red Deer was here every weekend. He has three really good attributes for being a great guy to have at the symposium: he's got super technical skills and helps keep everything running, strong like a bull and he plays guitar....we can use his skills from sun up until late into the night. Two of my sisters and brother inlaw came over one evening and did a sing song around the campfire, real western Canadian fun. The participants loved it.
Greg McMartin from Bowden and his two kids spent almost the whole month here. Greg set up in the sculpting area and did several pieces from wood. It is really nice to have locals getting involved.

Mohamad told me he had met Saeid several years ago and admired him then, now he was really happy to have a chance to work with him as a peer. They had a great time together.
Peerapong started on his stone by drilling holes and wedging off the exterior until he gets down to the rough form he wants, then he will use a grinder with diamond wheel and hammer and chisel before moving to tools that will smooth and polish.
To be able to cut on the top of Tanja's stone we had to put the old saw up on a trailer with planks under the wheels so that when the blade is down in the stone we can roll it back and make a cut the full length of her stone.
This is the cut we made, but as with Tony's stone the piece to come off was quite thin and we had to cleave twice to get it all off. You can see the wedges in the cut.
Peerapong is making headway, working all around his stone. You can see that this really is hard work, but very rewarding. It is a good feeling to make an artwork that you know will be around for much more than a thousand years. I think that helps to keep us going.
Christine did an awesome job of hanging the show in the gallery, it was beautiful. I think everyone that came out to the symposium checked out the gallery, work by local artists and the international participants was exhibited.

The quilts by the Bergen Ladies Aide were displayed above these show cases on their frames, it was a really neat exhibit and a lot of people commented on it. It is nice to showcase some of the fantastic skills of our local artisans. I hope that exhibiting non- traditional mediums like quilting will help us all to realize that there are talented people everywhere (even at home) and we should celebrate their skills and their art.
These masks by Danny Joe Jones from Bearberry were a great inclusion in the gallery.
Tony is cutting on the top of his block now, it will eventually be the front or back. Where he is cutting will be at the base so this saves a lot of back breaking work after it is stood up.

Peerapong has taken tousands of chips off his stone, now the form is begining to take shape.
Tony has the silouette of his sculpture completed and we stood it up. If it is possible it is nice to see your piece in the orientation that it will be placed in.
Now he can begin shaping the front and back surfaces as well as working the hole from both sides.

Tanja's block has a lot of stone removed, she is moving quickly. Today she recieved email about a family emergency, she will return to Germany in two days. I hope that we will be able to have her return later or in the future to complete this torso.
"Canuck" is laying down again now and Tony is working on the top surface.
Will Truchon, an Alberta sculptor, made it down a few times over the event. The day after the closing he did a piece that will go into the sculpture park along with the others. Great to have people drop in and lend a hand, without them the event just wouldn't be possible.
Steve Turner a sculptor I met in Viet Nam spent the month helping out, he assisted with running the big saws, chiseling, moving stones....what ever needed doing. Steve also does metal work, some of his folded copper forms are incredible.
Mohamad began work today, at first we thought his stone was going to challenge us but after some contemplation we realized we were just looking at it from the wrong angel. His stone will actually accomodate a sculpture a little larger than what he had planned. First thing was to make a cut on the end of his stone. He really liked the old saw, it is a work horse, I couldn't guess how many tons of stone this saw has cut over it's life. I got it in BC, it used to be a prospectors saw used for mining jade.
This is the result of Mohamad's first cut, another big piece to come off the other end will be next.

The outside of "Rising Sun" is really taking form and Peerapong has made some headway on the negative space from the top too.
Rainy today but the temperature is OK. Last year and the first we had some cold days dispite the time of year, I hope it stays nice for us this year.
Although we can turn the stones with our on-site crane it is sometimes easier to just climb up on the material.

Tony is getting the basic form onto both sides of his piece, when he has that completed he will start to create surfaces, some with texture, some polished.
Brad, volunteer from Edmonton, brought salmon, steaks and all the fixins for a delicious BBQ on Saturday. Melody and Steve from Okotoks helped out and we had a meal fit for a king. A campfire after it started getting dark finished off the evening.
Well, actually.....we sang some songs, lit sparklers and had fun with glow sticks.

This video shows the old saw in action, it is really a time saver to be able to take off pieces that wiegh several hundred pounds with each cut.

1 comment:

Campus Alberta Sundre Site said...

Great stuff Morton, I hope we can show your slides in Sundre soon. Will have to come back with a date to you.