When I brought tickets to see the conceptual art meets classical music event ‘Tears become streams become’ I had no idea what to expect. Apart from water. That was clear. Their would be water and probably a piano but outside of that it was all a bit of mystery.
Yesterday I toddled along to see the show and was ushered into the Park Avenue Armory where seats lined a large open space on which two pianos rested. On closer inspection it became apparent that this floor was made up of large dark wooden blocks.
On arriving at my seats in the mezzanine I could see that above the stage were six spotlights on the end of long metal hangers attached to the ceiling.
The auditorium filled and then …we waited. Minutes past in silence. Was this kind of conceptual art joke? Was the performance cancelled? I hadn’t the faintest. Then I began to notice something.
From between the cracks of the wooden flooring seeped the first traces of water. This first smattering slowly became small puddles, which in turn began to meld into bigger puddles until after twenty minutes the floor was covered in an inch of water which bubbled and oozed.
Reflected in the surface were the magnificent metallic ribs of the armory ceiling. Until without warning the spotlights began to rise from the floor and then turned off. We were then left with total silence and utter blackness.
At that point in the Armory abyss we heard something moving in the darkness. Helene Grimaud the French classical pianist had arrived to begin a beautiful series of pieces from the likes of Liszt, Ravel and Debussy all around the theme of water. As the performance progressed Lights would come up on certain sections of the floor highlighting the second piano that was never used throughout the performance.
And then after an hour of beautiful sound, the silence return and Grimaud exited as simply as she’d arrived without so much as a bow
Up come the lights and a strange aquatic evening was at an end. I can honestly say I’ve seen nothing like it. Douglas Gordon, the Turner Prize winning artistic force behind it, has created something that will live in the memory.