Yesterday was a long day of conference proceedings. The keynote address by Ojars Feldbergs drew a decent crowd of approx. 65 people and although there were some usual technical difficulties associated with computers, his presentation was excellent. I regret that more attendees weren’t there to learn about Ojars and his life as an artist. There was a much smaller audience for the presentation “Iron Curtain-The Recent History of Latvia” that was given by Dr. Nollendorfs, Director of the Occupation Museum of Latvia on Sat. morning. The aspect of these Iron Conferences that I dislike the most is the preoccupation with casting iron to the exclusion of consideration of WHY anyone should cast iron and How that activity relates to ART in general! This is the first conference taking place on the continent of Europe , in a place that has a unique history and is also one of the few places where there is a genuine interest in iron casting and a great many of the conference attendees are almost completely ignorant of the history of this country and failed to take advantage of the opportunity to learn where they are and how the conference came to be here. What a shame! This myopic focus on the process of iron casting has dominated every conference to date. I was hoping that this conference would be different. Perhaps it is different and I am just not aware of it. I certainly hope so.
On a personal note I have been singularly honored and several times surprised by the many references to my and Ken’s involvement with Pedvale and with bringing iron to Latvia, Finland and Estonia. I have always considered it a privilege to work at Pedvale and have always considered Ojars to be a major artist of our time in spite of his geographic isolation. He is able to carry on the ancient tradition of stone carving while simultaneously creating installations and performances that are the equal to any being created anywhere in the world. To have done all this while also founding, managing and funding the sculpture park is an extraordinary achievement. I salute you Ojars!
I again apologize for the lack of images but I am somewhat handicapped in that regard and can only tweet the occasional image. I will try to do so a little later today. Check it out at the bottom of the home page. I have to go now and make some wood molds for the performance night. Keep following.