In 2009, Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo created 1000 men and women figurines made out of ice for the completion of her Public art installation, The Minimum Monument (Melting Men). Throughout its life in the outdoor space, the ice figurines slowly melted until their disappearance. Originally placed in Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt Square, the piece was to bring awareness of Global Warming. Minimum Monument was then installed in Ireland as part of the Festival of Queens; there, the artist, recreated the original in order to visually remind people of the melting ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica. Since then, the installation has travelled to many cities around the world and it remains internationally known as ‘climate-change art’.
Environmental and seasonal artist Nicole Dextras is no stranger to using ice as a medium. For her series, “Iceshifts,” Dextras combines ice and clothing to create deconstructed wardrobes frozen in time, then photographs them up close and within natural settings. Often, the clothing has been frozen over several winters, creating layers and layers of ice. When Dextras composes her photography, she positions the blocks of ice to effect beautiful light refractions, giving the work a haunting and ethereal glow. The clothing appear to be specimens, ready to be excavated and studied. Sometimes, Dextras will include plants or leaves when creating her pieces; she’s even used stockings for arms and bras as wings to illustrate the many layers of the self .
Dextras explains, “This frozen wardrobe acts as a metaphor for the multilayered affinities between the self and the environment. On a deeper level, the mercurial aspect of ice alludes to the transient nature of the environment and of the inherent poetic beauty of the ephemeral.” (via my modern met)
Photographer Angela Kelly is yet another creative who is harnessing the current cold to create something special. Her newest photoseries came about when she mixed up a homemade bubble solution (a recipe which calls for dish soap, Karo syrup and water) with her 7-year old son Connor, and braved the early morning cold of Arlington, Washington to see what would happen to the bubbles in the frigid air. Of course, Kelly also brought her camera to document her experiment.
The resulting shots, a combination of high-definition close-ups and macroshots, capture the bubbles as they freeze into glass-like, fragile spheres. While some whither and shrink (like naturally-occurring cold balloons), others gently dropped to the ground like small crystal balls, while others cracked into shards. Says Kelly, “Sometimes in our quest to appreciate beauty, we take for granted even the simplest treasures that can be found in our own back yard.”
“Simply put, I want to encourage others to slow down and appreciate the little things,” she added. “I hope that viewers, when seeing this, are reminded that one is never too old to stop and enjoy the incredible beauty that is around them if they only look and to encourage their children to do the same.” (via huffington post)
Every winter, nearly two million people from all around the world venture to Sapporo, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, to celebrate all things winter for one week at the Sapporo Snow Festival. The festival, which has its roots from when the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972, has been taking place since the early 1980’s. From enormous buildings, temples and slides to more intricately detailed and finely-sculpted statues, the city’s streets are full of all types of snow and ice works to celebrate the natural beauty of the winter season.
Now the festival draws sculptors and competitors from all around the world for its famous annual competitions, taking place in several different sites around the city. The event has set several World Records, including the audience-participatory construction of the most snowmen ever made in one place (over 10,000 – a record which still stands). The next installment, now the 65th Sapporo Snow Festival, will be held this February 5th through 11th in 2014. (via weirdtwist)
Although most of America (currently enduring one of the worst winter cold snaps in nearly two decades) would like to ignore this fact in for favor of bundled layers and heated blankets, sometimes even the dire cold, snow and ice can provide the tools and inspiration for those who brave it’s elements. Famed land and installation artist Andy Goldsworthy (previously here and here) has often utilized ice, frost, snow and frozen earth to create his trademark land interventions. And rather than avoiding the elements, Goldsworthy is only able to create these delicate and precise sculptures by embracing the cold.
In Goldsworthy’s 2004 documentary, Rivers & Tides, several scenes document the difficulty in attempting to harness the cold’s elements. One scene shows the artist, braving the winter elements for hours at a time in finger-less gloves (so as to be able to properly feel and hold the materials) fusing together icicle chunks together with warm water, holding them in place while they freeze together into naturally-made though unnatural shapes. The smallest temperature changes, light, and even chance cause the ice sculpture to collapse, repeatedly, which is all part of Goldsworthy’s process. Says the artist, “Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature.”
Goldsworthy’s process is only captured through the use of photographs, and the often detailed notes (below) which the artist uses to document the difficulties and triumphs of each individual piece.
In the midst of the holiday season, with record cold temperatures in parts of the world and Winter Solstice, the shortest day/longest night of the year, upon us, I’ve been spending time studying work made with a simple organic material: Ice. Truth be told, despite spending my childhood in Minnesota, I now live in the desert, and the only ice I see is in my drinking glass. After studying art works made with ice as a central material, I am struck by a number of repeated inclinations by a number of artists. Much of the works I present here demonstrate that the transitory and temporal qualities of ice lend it to meaningful works about the body, time, climate, a sense of place and elements of endurance. Though this list is in no way exhaustive, artists included are: Marina Abramovic, Jay Atherton and Cy Keener, Nele Azavedo, Kirsten Justesen, Greatest Hits (a collective), Julie Rrap and Tavares Strachan.
Every winter about 125 miles North of the Arctic Circle a hotel is built entirely out of snow and ice. While definitely a unique hotel, ICEHOTEL, as it’s called, is just as much an art project in its own right. In a way the structure is contemporary interpretation of traditional homes built of the same material. However, each year brings an entirely new design to the hotel. In addition to being filled with guest rooms and a bar, the art and design group at ICEHOTEL also work from a handpicked group of artists. The hotel becomes a temporary home to art and people, to be destroyed and rebuilt next year. [via]
Toronto-based photographer Kotama Bouabane has an incredibly poignant series called “Melting Words.” The ice letters form typical break-up phrases, with their indelible messages transcending the medium’s own impermanence.