D – Minus 1
It is finished! And its not even 13h00 yet. The entire installation is now complete and looks fantastic. Paul’s photograph is splendid and it all fits snugly into its space.
The staff at the gallery have been the most wonderful, helpful people with an incredible can-do attitude to whatever we have thrown at them. Marco, in his wonderful Italian English and infectious laugh just looks us in the eye every time we approach him for help and, before we can ask, says “tell me..” Installing has been difficult, frustrating, complicated and the hours we have worked have been long at times but it has also been good fun. It’s been nice getting to know the crew from the gallery and now we are looking forward to partying with them all at the opening.
D – Minus 2
The vast majority of today was spent getting our heads around the finer nuances of Despite our determined resolve to finish everything today we have not managed as the photograph requires some specialist attention that we unfortunately do not have the tools for as yet.
The wallpaper is however complete and looks really good, despite being somewhat of a nightmare to install. If ever architecture does not work out for Andre and me I am sure we will be able to make a good living removing wrinkles and doing facelifts, it cant be any more complicated than applying large stickers to walls.
Tomorrow we finalise the photograph and hang it before heading off to the Biennale to poke around among the exhibitions for a preview.
D – Minus 3
The vast majority of today was spent getting our heads around the finer nuances of applying sticky wallpaper to surfaces with acute angled corners. Take my word for it, it is not easy.
Clearance spent the time adding finishing touches to the paintwork, which seems to be working as we are beginning to receive very complimentary comments about the installation. It is really looking nice and is certainly one of the more ambitious installations here.
We knocked off work at 9pm last night before stumbling home and stopping in at a local restaurant for a quick bowl of pasta and a glass of Prosecco. Tomorrow we wrap things up.
D – Minus 4
Andre was out of the flat early this morning to take a train to Trieste to watch the finale of the Giro d’Italia while I decided to wait for our mountain to awake before heading off to Lido to try and get a long training run in.
I kind of figured he needed the sleep, as he looked exhausted after work yesterday. In view of the fact that we only have 2 keys for the flat and Andre had taken one I could not leave until he was awake in any event. The loud snoring sounds that emanated from under the door of his room seemed to confirm my suspicions that he needed the sleep but at 12h00 my cabin fever became intolerable and I woke him up to tell him I was leaving.
In the evening we got together again for a pizza and a glass of Aperol before calling it a day.
D – Minus 5
Today saw us complete the construction of the box, which, as things would have it, is considerably more complicated to assemble than either Andre or myself ever envisaged. This is especially the case when one takes into consideration the fact that Venetian Palazzo floors are a very long way from level. Moulding this thing around the idiosyncrasies of Space B’s old construction has been a challenge but we have managed.
The people here refer to Clearance as our African Mountain and his shy, reticent demeanour seems to attract a lot of affection from our hosts. There is no way one could assemble this without him. In fact I am not so sure one could disassemble it without him. This idea has obviously also crossed the mind of at least one of the gallery staff so far as Nicola asked me today with some trepidation whether we would be returning to Venice to pack the whole lot up again. He did not look happy with my reply.
Installing the triangular skylight was a mammoth task that required the assistance of the entire gallery technical staff and exacted a lot of looks and comments in Italian that I can only think were not polite.
The walk home had us in a watering hole drinking Prosecco, and watching the clothes dry on the lines above us in the evening breeze.
Tomorrow being Sunday, and us being Namibian, we have decided to take a break from the installation work and have a day off. On Monday we expect to hang the wallpaper, finalise the installation of the LED lighting and hopefully hang the photograph.
D – minus 6
Shortly before finishing off yesterday the day became quite interesting when I slipped on the stairs and dislocated my shoulder. Lots of panic among our hosts, and ambulance, paramedics, the whole bit but all turned out fine and the shoulder reinstalled itself without too much fuss.
Today Andre and Clearance are doing all the heavy lifting, as my shoulder will be sore for a while still. Nonetheless, we have made good progress and this afternoon saw the arrival of Paul van Schalkwyk’s photograph and its frame. The assembly of the installation structure is approaching completion and we will probably be in a position to finalise it tomorrow.
The wiring for the lighting installation has been installed by a very friendly Italian electrician who worked like a Trojan for about three hours this morning to get things ready for us and not interfere with our further work. The spotlights are in and it is therefore only the LED strips that still need to be installed onto the roof of the installation and programmed. Things are taking shape.
Each day the walk home follows a different route and we try and stop for beer or a glass of wine somewhere that won’t break the bank or lead to divorce, and each morning we stop at the same coffee shop for a shot of espresso on our way here. We must be settling in…
D – minus 7
Today Andre started up with an early visit to St. Marks to have a look around before the tourist hordes descend on the square and make it unbearable.
I began with a run out toward the mainland and back while Clearance caught up on another hour of necessary sleep. Espresso and yoghurt saw us out the door and off to work again at 08h30.
Progress is slow today as we cut and form the installation around the door to the adjacent space and repair the minor damage to one of the panels that was incurred in transit. The cutting and forming is dusty work and makes a terrible mess in the neatly prepared space next door, which is where we have the saw set up. So far the curators are still polite and generous but that may change if we are still in this space tomorrow, as that is when our neighbours arrive to install. The day is therefore promising to be a long one …
D – minus 8
Arrived in Venice yesterday with Andre and Clearance from Mr. Wood Joinery, all of us tired after the long flight to Frankfurt, courtesy of Air Namibia.
A good night’s sleep and a few espressos saw us back on our feet this morning. After dropping in to catch up with architect friends Giovanni and Anna, from whom we are renting our accommodation here, we headed for the gallery at Palazzo Mora. Upon our arrival Marco and Grazia greeted us with big smiles and generous offers to help wherever they can with the work. Tools and equipment were all ready as promised and the space neatly prepared for our installation.
A quick inspection confirmed that Transworld Cargo and Air Namibia had done an outstanding job of getting all the bits and pieces of our shipment here prior to our arrival and in good condition. Paul van Schalkwyk’s photograph, while not on site yet, has been confirmed to have arrived in Venice and will be delivered here either tomorrow or the day thereafter.
Clearance, upon seeing his installation, immediately set to work with focused determination and has had no qualms firing a stream of instructions at Andre and myself to fetch and carry whatever he needs, regardless of how much it weighs. As it so happens, all is proceeding well and we are looking forward to seeing the completed installation materialise in its space within the next three or four days.