Douglas Gordon calls himself, “an extremely hardcore dogmatic bastard.” Helene Grimaud sees herself as a “a control freak.” Tears become… streams become at the Park Ave Armory is the work of these two artists. What kind of collaboration does this create? A great one, which spans two years. The Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall, 55,000 sq. ft, 80 ft. high is the site and performance space for Tears become…streams become, a site-specific, multidisciplinary installation. Grimaud was asked at the press opening what drew her to this project. “The emotional journey which would take me out of my comfort zone.” On the other hand, Gordon gave a longer answer. “Ive done fire, air; I was waiting for water. It’s is the best game board, I’ve ever been able to play on.”
A shallow pool, filled with one inch of water, three layers of pond liners underneath it, has been built in the hall. A floor has been added to the edge of the “pool.” This immense space is dark, just enough light to miss stepping into the pool and finding your seat. Seated at the piano, about one third of way in from the edge, Helene Grimaud and Douglas Gordon are seated at a Steinway piano.
“I’ve been in this space many times. I always look up. I wanted people to look down. As the performance goes on one starts to get deeper and deeper and deeper into the space.” This is one of the more remarkable aspects of the performance. The lighting changes with the performance. The room becomes darker. The architectural iron structure of the building is reflected in the pool. At times it feels like the pool is 100 ft. deep.
What are the challenges of dealing with such huge space? “The immensity, the depth, this fragile environment…how to keep the intimacy, redefine your relationship to the sound, let it born out of the instant.” HG Grimaud is known for practicing the piano, not only AT the piano. “I play the piece through my mind. I can actually feel the physical sensations in my head.”
The rippling of the water every now and then, the sensation of the music seeping into your skin, and the multiple reflections constantly changing; it’s experience anyone would be lucky to have.
tears become…streams become
Park Ave Armory, Wade Thompson Drill Hall
ON VIEW: December 10, 2014 – January 4, 2015
PERFORMANCES: December 9 – December 21, 2014 evenings
Opening Night: Tuesday, Dec 9 at 7 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm
Sunday at 7 pm
Program includes works by Berio, Liszt, Albeniz and Debussy
General Admission during the daytime viewing: $15 for adults
Tickets for performances start at $45
armoryonpark.org or 212-933-5812