Spaces 9.XXXV'94 Transcript

Duration: 02:49

This is ‘Spaces’ by artist Petre Nikolovski. Commissioned in 1993, this huge monument was constructed and buried in the side of the hill. Curator Tony Trehy tells us more.

Tony Trehy (00:13)
The artist was very much into making a monument to nature which is the subtitle of the piece and he was also interested in the notion that a monument would last forever. So he decided to build something that is like a tomb and from the outside now to doesn’t probably look like a tomb but its more in the tradition of East European hillside burial chamber. Inside there is a life size cast of the artist using a medieval technique of using lime mortar, which is significantly more durable than concrete so it will last.

Narrator (00:50)
Outside appearances are deceptive.

Tony Trehy (00:52)
The actual size of the thing is deceptive when you look at it because it looks like a small cave entrance in the hillside but Rossendale is a centre for quarrying and stone is actually not very expensive and one of the local stone quarries donated hundreds and hundreds of tonnes of stone. At the time a big national crane firm also operated its head quarters locally so with these two sponsorships of endless supplies of stone and huge cranes his ambition grew bigger and bigger. So if you stand back and look at it you can actually see that the piece distorts the hillside and that at one point there was a huge hole dug in the hillside for the tomb to be encased in it. It’s got its own drainage systems behind it so then this hole was dug, the construction was built, the huge cranes came in lifting the stone. There was a funny anecdote that on the day the cranes came and the stones were being lifted, Rossendale and Rawtenstall managed to get on the national news because there was a snow storm that whited out the whole valley so everything stopped in the snow as all these stones were hovering waiting to go into this thing. But eventually it was built and eventually it was then reburied and covered over so it looks like it’s just naturally in the hillside.

Narrator (02:12)
Unusually this natural monument to nature played its part in Macedonian nationalism.

Tony Trehy (02:19)
Nikolovski was actually Macedonian and at the time Yugoslavia was just breaking up and Macedonia was attempting to get independence and so the first act of the Macedonian ambassador to Britain was to come to Rossendale and unveil the sculpture.

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