Steel, fiberglass, resin, polyurethane foam, gelcoat and transparent satined glass coating
Four tacks, each 18 ft. (5.5 m) in diameter over a distance of 121 ft. (37 m) in length.
Commissioned May 2008 by Kistefos-Museet, Norway
Installed May 2009
Inaugurated May 24, 2009
Our final Large-Scale Project together was for a site in the Norwegian countryside, in a sculpture park called ‘Kistefos,’ two hours by car north of Oslo. The park is developed around the remains of a 19th century wood pulp factory, preserved by Christen Sveaas, the grandson of its proprietor, and filled with contemporary sculpture. When we were asked to make a sculpture for the collection, we responded in or usual way, not by providing an already existing work, but by visiting the place in order to determine a sculpture particular to the site.
Within the terrain, Coosje was drawn to a quiet hillside, which she saw as a backdrop for some colorful forms that first were thought of as giant flowers. Closer examination showed a wide path over the hill, lined with birches and nearly overgrown with lush greenery that had once served to transport logs. Coosje reached into our image bank and brought forth not flowers, but a vision of four large industrially manufactured tacks tumbling down a hillside, each with its own distinct trajectory, yet all alike and propelled by the same force of gravity. The tacks appeared to her to signify the transition from the mechanical, repetitive reproduction found in the mill to a playful, free format, setting tacks loose to tumble like skiers down a hill, waving the circles and points of their poles. Just as one cannot think of tacks without their function of pinning, so the process of grinding logs into pulp cannot be disconnected from its transformation into paper. Pulp and tack both imply the presence of paper in absentia.
In the Kistefos context, the Tumbling Tacks become associated with cross-sections of a log or circular saw. The simple, round form is contrasted with the form of a triangle, the shape of a saw or axe-point that cuts into the wood, opening it up. An elementary, universal design, the silver Tack is transformed by being positioned in various ways, under changing conditions of light and perspective, and through the addition of a color -- red or blue -- on the gently curving surface of its top. Above all, by the incongruous circumstances of its scale and geometrical presence in a natural setting.
Tumbling Tacks is the only Large-Scale Project to be situated in Scandinavia and the first to be created in a forest environment. It will not be truly completed until the grass, the flowers and the trees, cleared for the installation, have returned, and the sculpture has been observed in the area’s contrasting seasons. There will be Tumbling Tacks of summer, of autumn, of winter and, again, Tumbling Tacks of spring.
Coosje lived long enough to see the Tacks completed, choose their color and define their location. She died of cancer on January 10, 2009, four months before their installation.