THE ARTIST ON THE SCULPTURE:
“The marble represents the landscape; 17th and 18th century Chinese used marble, and looked into it. Its lines and contours reminded them of the landscape, of the fall, of winter. They also wrote short poems about it. First, I envisioned white marble, then yellow marble. Then I got the idea of doing two cabins—one for night and one for day; through the holes you can see the day, the night, the stars (also, the holes are resemblant of constellations), the cold, the wind, the heat, the snow, the ocean, the seasons, the centuries. The stares of children and adults alike will penetrate the cabins!
These two cabins will be like two lighthouses, attracting all of this. Maybe the holes are caused by meteors that have fallen to earth. Then I selected my marbles; one will be “Norwegian Rose”, and the other “Blå Olav”. One is the colour of sunrise, and the other the colour of night. A small pathway separates the two cabins. This pathway measures 0.90 m x 5.20 m and is made of granite. Visitors will cross this little pathway that runs all the way to the sea, and they can look through the holes: “House of Day and House of Night!” Large marble surfaces are needed (as large as possible) to prevent excessive pattern shifts. Underneath the marble floor, there must not be a second floor that prevents seawater from escaping freely through the holes in the marble floor. In the end, the placement of the holes in the marble floor will be natural.”
NOTES - DAYS AND NIGHTS
“The two cabins must be constructed entirely from marble, even their interior structures.
- one cabins is constructed of “Norwegian Rose” marble (polished)
- the other is constructed of “Blå Olav” marble (polished)
The pathway between the cabins must be constructed of Støren granite (unpolished)
On each exterior plane of the cabins, including roofs, as well as the floors inside the cabins, there will be hundreds of holes (carefully cut) with diameters of 1–1.5 to 2–2.5 cm.
Through these holes, air, rain, snow, sunshine, seawater can enter ... the night and the day will revisit the houses. Of course, the gaze of visitors also enters as the visitors approach the cabins and walk along the pathway between them (made from granite), and as they take in the interior of the cabins with their eyes, looking through the holes.
The granite pathway is also perforated with holes of varying sizes, with diameters of 1–1.5 to 2–2.5 cm. The granite is not polished, providing a non-slip surface. It will be necessary to build an access path, leading to the pathway between the cabins. The two cabins and the pathway will be at sea level. The two cabins will be constructed on a metal or concrete platform, to ensure they have a stable base. However, the cabin structures themselves must be constructed entirely from marble. As indicated by the watercolours, the walls and doors are solid marble. They do not open.
The county council had to take responsibility, even when things went awry. Things went particularly wrong in two projects, involving Toshikatsu Endo's Epitaph in Flakstad and Sarkis' Days and Nights in Hadsel. Both artworks had to be removed, because the technical solutions were unsatisfactory. If we had had the foresight to consult with technical expertise from the very beginning, we probably could have avoided this type of problem, which proved costly, in many respects. The continual struggle to keep costs down overshadowed the good solutions in some cases. The artists have all been exceptionally gracious in accepting delays, revisions, and, in some cases, compromises.”
Aaslaug Vaa in “A new discourse”
PRESS RELEASE (1998)
“It has taken eight years to complete the sculpture of Turkish/French artist Sarkis. Completing the sculpture proved to be a long and difficult process, but it is now in place on the site the artist chose on his very first visit to Hadsel in 1991.
From the very beginning, Sarkis' idea behind the sculpture was for it to resemble the prototypical house shape children always draw. To his surprise, the artist found houses of this shape to be very common in Hadsel and Norway. The crucial moment for the sculptor was when he spotted the little library next to the grand grey house with a turf roof. The other key element for the artist was the ever-changing light conditions in Nordland.
The location of the sculpture site, right on the water's edge and level with the sea, was also in his thoughts from the beginning. The water was intended to reflect the house and the reflection, and this later led to the idea of building two houses: a house of days and a house of nights. Through the holes in the windows, one could see the day and the night, the stars, the wind, the heat, the snow, the ocean and the different seasons.
The house shape further evokes thoughts of outside and inside, interior and exterior, security and vulnerability, nature and culture.
With its two houses, Days and Nights becomes part of the landscape, and plays with scale as the measure of how we view the world. The sculpture houses stand three meters tall, yet they are too small to be real houses. When viewed from the centre of Hadsel across the fjord, the sculpture causes us to sharpen our vision to understand what it is we see. When viewed from across the fjord, the houses meld with the landscape and become part of the architecture.
The material used in the sculpture was changed, from marble to granite, to improve durability. The light and the dark coalesce in this type of rock as well. Combined with the archetypical house shape, the rock surfaces create an open field, causing the spectator to reflect on their meaning, both those born of the shapes themselves, but also those that are generated by the sculpture's location, materials and colours.
Sarkis' sculpture is revealed on Friday 4 September 1998, at 1:00 p.m., by Theatre Director Frode Rasmussen from Nordland Theatre. After the reveal, the audience is invited aboard the M/S Finnmarken for a serving of fish soup. This sculpture is the 31st to be revealed since the project began.”