(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
Torild Street's charcoal drawing of the view from Twin Towers will be part of the permanent collection at the 9 / 11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero in New York next month.
Just weeks after the 9 / 11 tragedy, I was standing in a gallery in Oslo so tightly packed that it was difficult to move. Dumbfounded, I considered a huge, judgmental charcoal drawing of the view from the lost Twin Towers. The atmosphere in the room was surreal – the perspective New York had just lost was suddenly here.
New York Metamorphosis was created during Torild Stray's Artist-in-Residence stay in the World Trade Center at the end of the 1990 century. The studio was in 91. floor, but the view of the work is from 85. story.
What makes a Norwegian artist want to draw the panoramic view from the World Trade Center with charcoal on cold pressed paper? Torild Stray sits on a train in a quiet compartment and would prefer to take the interview via Messenger. I demand a cell phone call and force her out into the corridor, interrogating her about the artwork's art and technique, and about how long and how much commitment it took to get the artwork home to New York.
Process. A raw stripped room is lit by a lonely light bulb. Quick steps over hard concrete floors. A restless, driven hand, his gaze catching something more. The moving north tower in the "Twin Towers" sway. The wind is strong. The artist feels sucked in the stomach. It scares her. She runs up and down the floors of the tower, paints and sketches, looking for the right perspective. The artist knows the buildings now – they have become characters.
There is something about the view from the 85th floor. Higher up the bird's perspective makes her lose contact, the further down it becomes too flat. But here in the 85th she feels the suction and the depth. She has no idea that the choice she makes will make her a witness.
The artist runs up and down the floors of the tower, paints and sketches, looking for the right perspective.
The artist stretches out the almost five meter long roll of cold pressed watercolor paper. Rhythmically, she sketches out the distinctive high-rise New York landscape. Everything comes out at once in a vibrant movement – the vertical and horizontal lines, the negative rooms, the positive shapes. The urban structure is urged to extend the body. A well-used leather felt draws light and turmoil into the paper. Days or weeks – the view below her is gradually captured. The individual buildings can no longer be separated. The urban landscape is more and more like an organic, man-made predator of the future. It blackens for her. Is it the height she can't stand, or is it the dystopian who ominously oozes out? It swayed sharply around her. In manic sea sickness, she continues to work.
Market forces and the arts. I ask if she was driven by the opportunity for financial gain in this personal portrayal of the Twin Towers panoramic view. Torild Stray coughs, surprised at how well she hears my question through the earbuds of the cellphone. We are lucky since she is on part of the train route with good coverage.
"Creating a five-meter-long charcoal drawing of WTC's views as an unknown artist never seemed like a huge financial success."
The Bergen dialect is clear, and the voice confident and dark: "We artists do not work logically. Creating a five-meter-long charcoal drawing of the World Trade Center's view as an unknown artist never seemed like a huge financial success. ”
The answer comes, short and concise. There was no prospect of financial gain in the picture from the 85th floor – until it narrowed. Isn't it precisely her type of interpretation of the now non-existent view that is valuable, culturally and socially? The work arose out of the artist's compelling need to interpret and convey his surroundings. Was it a danger alert? Isn't this what makes free art so important to fight for? The work's sensational, therapeutic, soothing and documentary significance for posterity can never be measured in money.
New value. With the 9/11 terrorist attack New York Metamorphosis a new context and great social value. It was exhibited at Galleri 27 in Oslo as early as October 2, 2001. It was a fiery scoop so soon after the fall of the towers. Coincidence allowed me to experience the vernissage in Oslo myself.
So shortly after the terrorist incident, the encounter with the work was disturbingly topical and poignant. The weight of the subject made the room spin. Those present were devoutly and deeply touched. The room was so full of curious that it was difficult to breathe. Or is it just the way I remember it now? The monumentality of the work was overwhelming. Set against the fragility of the enormous paper, it aroused associations to the seemingly powerful and immovable towers, the vulnerability of our reality. It was a reminder that even the largest buildings have weaknesses in their construction that can lead to total collapse. The coarse expression and bleakness of the old coal technique seemed like a prophetic hint to the barbarity that had now re-entered the Western orderly cultural sphere.
So shortly after the terrorist incident, the encounter with the work was disturbingly topical and poignant. The weight of the subject made the room spin.
Current thought cross. In the political climate in Norway and the world today, there is no doubt that many in power question whether art has a real social benefit. Effective cuts in artist grants, display
arenas and production funds testify to weathering the idea of art as necessary. Reluctance to free art increases and is actionable. It is tempting to put attitude-illustrative words in the mouths of those who want the free expression to come to life: "The artist is a navel-gazing, self-absorbed dove-nigger who does not last, a prank on the welfare state", "Art should be privately funded – it will bring out the best. Other art does not deserve the right of life. " The doors and cash flows are closed, while politicians are smiling. Sensitivity is met with contempt. With a market-leading look, never would New York Metamorphosis have come into being.
Torild Street's charcoal drawing of the view from Twin Towers now becomes part of the permanent collection and will be on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero in New York. The work is ceremonially presented on March 5 this year.
The image is reproduced with the artist's permission.