The day before the sculpture is freighted to Aarhus.  I borrowed Charlotte’s car again and went over to Roskilde for the first time since finishing work last Tuesday.   I knew that Lars and Mikkel were planning to prep the panels to load onto the truck tomorrow, starting early.  On the way I received a text that the workshop was now empty and ready to be cleaned, meaning that they had already taken the different sections right out of the workshop where it had been built (that was temporarily rented for the job).  I hadn’t been expecting that but it means that I can go over again tomorrow and while waiting for the truck to come (hopefully around noon), can tidy up the space so I don’t have to go back again.  I won’t have much to do when the sculpture is loaded; physically it’s too heavy for me so I’ll just be standing by chewing my fingernails, but I want to be there to see it.

The next week will be full on; on Thursday I travel to Aarhus and will have a site meeting in the afternoon when I arrive.  Lars and Mikkel come early on Friday and we will be installing all weekend.  My ticket back to Copenhagen is booked for Monday evening, and the opening begins on Thursday.  A brief look at the weather forecast today threw me into gloom, rain is forecast, some heavy, for most of the weekend.  That could make things rather complicated and I am thinking to email Niels, the site manager and remind him that some kind of scaffold and temporary cover may be needed in order to finish the paintwork if it does rain: better to be prepared.

I have had a few days off, which has been very important and gave me a chance to unwind a bit.  On Thursday I made a flying visit to Louisiana and zipped round three major exhibitions and a couple of smaller ones: the Doig, Jeff Wall and Richard Mosse were all worth seeing.  Having seen the Peter Doig exhibition in London in 2008 it was interesting to see that this one felt quite different.  There were very old paintings, such as Young Bean Farmer (owned by Victoria Miro) and Concrete Cabin II, which were familiar but good to see again.  Also the stunning Okahumkee (Some other People’s Blues) which evoked Heart of Darkness instantly for me, which I had not previously seen and House of Pictures (2000-2002) probably the most fascinating compositionally, because I just couldn’t determine where or what the space depicted was, inside or outside, in a train line or even a gallery perhaps.  I need to read about that painting at a more relaxed time.  I also very much enjoyed a passageway linking the two main sections of the show, full of prints, most of them working prints and many of them imperfect, splattered with ink or whatever, that really showed the evolution of many of the paintings.  The use of a print room as part of the development of paintings was very much emphasised at City and Guilds of London Art School where I studied and it really was on display here.

I was also glad to see Jeff Wall; obviously a huge name and someone whose work I didn’t know much about.  I don’t know why but I had preconceptions that he might be a bit cold, I had somehow lumped him together (confused him more like) with Jeff Koons in my mind.  I was therefore interested to see that his work was actually all about people; the modest working black man in his humble yet enticing bedsit (no doubt not genuine but somehow fulfilling a fantasy of a perfect little den) – After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison, The Prologue 1999-2000, the Sto:lo nation people keenly observing as one of their villages is excavated by archaeologists, the cleaner at work in the Mies van der Rohe Foundation in Barcelona, not to mention the down and outs documented in his black and white photographs, where the shabbiness and in the end marginalisation of the people seemed echoed in the way they were barely noticeable sometimes in the tonal balance of the works.    It was the Mies van der Rohe image that I found most interesting compositionally; the way a steel beam in the room being photographed seemed to jump out onto the surface of the image, making a visual point about the surface of the picture as a window through which we gaze, and therefore echoing the subject of the image, who is cleaning windows; clever that….


It’s ready! And I am so glad.  Today I finished the last coat of undercoat then prepared and did 3 layers of top coat on the remaining four panels.  I’m not totally satisfied: the joints between plates of plywood are visible in places, despite my efforts, and there are occasional blemishes. I know I’ll have my work cut out to finish the piece once installed, but just for now I’m going to allow myself the satisfaction of enjoying the sensation of getting to this point. There were times in the last three weeks I thought it wouldn’t happen, when I had to force my tired legs up the steps to the kitchen one more time. I wouldn’t say I’ve really enjoyed the process; the work has been exhausting, quite repetitive and lonely at times.  But it got done, and I hope the result will be worth it.

Lars got a call from the freight man to say he’ll be there next Wednesday: after all the rush! Actually though, I think it’s a good thing that the paint has a week to set dry properly.  That way it is less likely to sustain so much damage during transport.  Still: Lars said his biggest worry is not the installation per se, but the transportation.  My next trip to Roskilde will probably be in a week, to prepare the sections before the freight man arrives. In the meantime I plan a little relaxation and a few exhibitions.  Jeff Wall, Peter Doig and David Hockney all at Louisiana at the moment…


A nasty moment to begin with today. I was a bit nervous about starting the top coat. After all, minor blemishes in the undercoat can somehow be disguised, but the top coat has to be perfect. I mixed up the paint, ready to start, and nothing came out of the spray gun. Sometimes it can take a moment for the paint to start flowing, but here, definitely nothing.  There was airflow, enough paint, I checked the nozzle and pipe going into the paint were clear. Nothing.  Thoughts like, have I time to go to Silvan and buy another,  flashing through my head.  I  tried the Black and Decker helpline in Slough. .office closed, must be a Bank Holiday today in England.  In Denmark, bravely attempting to explain my problem in Danish.  Kundeservice told me  to take the gun back to the shop where I bought it, and had no more suggestions, saying it must be a blockage inside the pistol.  I’ve been faithfully flushing it through every evening, and decided to give that a go.  Put warm soapy water in the container, and turned the pressure to max.  Water started flowing: bingo!!

Thereafter things went smoothly today.  I love the colour of the top coat, so hard won, bless the helpful guy in Silvan Nørrebro.  It’s like coffee cream, or cappuccino, and almost smells as good.  It seems less temperamental than the undercoat too and went on quite smoothly.  I even finished with time to spare and cleaned the pistol thoroughly.  My mind is starting to turn to how things will work during the installation, and how to prepare for it.  Tomorrow should be the last day in this studio.


I was so blasted after Saturday that I couldn’t even write a blog post on my way home.  It wasn’t hugely eventful, but I did (almost..just one coat on one side of one panel left to go) finish undercoating.   I was so glad to get out at 8.10pm and to go home knowing I would have the next day off.   Monday and Tuesday will be weekdays so less lonely.  I will have my work cut out still, and have already planned to spend the whole day on Tuesday to ease the pressure a little, but at least I know I am now on the final stage (of this part) – applying the top coat to the front side of each panel.

Then will come the transport day, loading the panels onto the lorry and on Friday 29th begins the installation.  That will be nail biting and I am already anticipating (nervously) the amount of retouching that will be necessary after cranes and goodness knows what are used on it..


Felt very tired today, back in the studio twelve hours after I left it, and that’s including nearly 3 hours travelling..I didn’t even attempt to plan knowing Mikkel and Lars were also going to be working there.  It gave me a boost hearing other people work and it was exciting to see them hoisting the two end sections up to work on preparing the joint…though seeing them trample on my precious paintwork wasn’t!

They were finished relatively quickly leaving me to continue with my spraying (sanding and refilling..). Today very different from yesterday though in that I actually got to where I wanted to, and the end of undercoating is in sight.  I have also confirmed that the sculpture won’t be collected until Wednesday. If I do finish the undercoat tomorrow I can take Sunday as a day of rest and see my boy.