Steel, 35.00/35.00/15.00 m.
Pleven, Bulgaria, 1987
City Council of Pleven and the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria
The design of a sculpture symbolising the flame, which Culture ignites in Man. The sculpture will be freestanding, while structurally supported, and reflected in a mirror of water below during three seasons, excluding summer. During the summer, the emptied pool will be turned into a stage where theatrical festivals will be held every year in the open. It is one of the conditions of the Commissioner that the lower part of the sculpture be utilized as the ceiling of the stage area and for the mounting of the stage equipment, lighting etc.
The artist’s idea began with the interchange of the dynamic values of the flame as a static sculpture and that, which provides the burning. The flame is frozen, eternal; showing the might of Culture and that, which burns and creates this flame -artists -, is in constant motion which livens up the space of the amphitheatre.
The project offers visitors the opportunity of passive contemplation and meditation on the sculpture and its image in the water and surrounding buildings, and also their inclusion in the theatrical shows held in the amphitheatre beneath the sculpture. This thought turns the sculptural whole into a unique place where the arts are in harmony with each other and altogether this represents a new dimension in the public’s senses. The reflections in the water and the windows of the buildings during the other three seasons make the sculpture a natural part of everyday life, giving it more life, imagination and contemplativeness. The pull, the attraction, of the design is especially important because it aims to break the monotony of grey, everyday existence and, in this way, to provoke new ideas and intentions.
Structure of the project:
A conventional tubular construction has been used as the basis of the design which, without dividing the volume of the court-yard categorically, both in terms of light and of air, turns the area into one semi-interior/semi-exterior space. The sculpture is a logical result of the angles and proportions laid out in the mechanical construction, giving it a new sense and effect. In this new style of sculpture, new elements appear: planes, which add to an even clearer and concrete expression of the artist’s idea. The exceptionaly spare silhouette has been sought out deliberately, in contrast to the richness and plasticity of the elements of the stage. The fire colour further underlines the passion of the art and, at the same time, emphasises the vital role of that area.
The same steel has been used in the sculpture as for the mechanical construction. The material goes from one end to the other forming an homogenous whole in a technological sense. In terms of colour, though, the design is concretely divided into two parts. The discreet silver colour of the construction symbolises the cosmic dimensions in which the Spirit dwells, and the flame-red colour of the sculpture is faken directly from the symbolism of fire, played on and enlivened by light effects. Depending on various lighting methods the effect of the work is unique, passing from smouldering passion to complete tempestuosity.
The project enriches the stage area in front of the theatre; an area, which, in many cases, has been a setting for, shows co-existing with the traditional events in the closed theatre. Its attraction during the remaining three seasons makes it a separate space with its own life and image, independent of the theatrical events taking place inside the theatre. This sculptural setting with its specific utilitarian value creates an energy field in which everyone may feel a part of the Stage of Life. When there isn’t a show, one has the opportunity to be an actor in a one-man show directed and executed by one’s own self. This area creates a free-floating dimension of interaction between the public and the show, the viewer and the work.