Greenland ice being harvested by Olafur Eliasson. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson's Instagram
Greenland ice being harvested by Olafur Eliasson. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson's Instagram

Olafur Eliasson turns to ice (again)

The artist and activist has put his Greenland icebergs to work - this time to create a new Berlin show

About a year ago the artist and environmental activist Olafur Eliasson took twelve icebergs from a Greenland fjord, transported them to Europe and arranged them in a clock formation in Paris’s Place du Panthéon. The work, Ice Watch Paris, was staged to coincide with a United Nations conference on climate change, and demonstrated how time was of the essence in the struggle to prevent catastrophic, global climate change.

 

One of Eliasson's chunks of Greenland ice. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson's Instagram
One of Eliasson's chunks of Greenland ice. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson's Instagram

The Paris summit was a success, yet Greenland’s ice is still melting away, so Eliasson and his team saved a few pieces from that earlier ice harvest and are working them into a new exhibition.

This time Eliasson plans to pack concrete around the ice blocks and allow the bergs to melt, leaving a cavity in the concrete and a puddle of water. The artist has favoured this technique in the past; earlier this year he put forward plans for an exhibition space beside an icefjord in Greenland.

Works in this new exhibition, The Presence of Absence, which opens at Berlin’s neugerriemschneider gallery tomorrow (9 December), might not be on quite so monumental a scale, yet will doubtless serve to remind us of the impermanence of our natural world.

 

A piece of Greenland ice being cast in concrete. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson's Instagram
A piece of Greenland ice being cast in concrete. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson's Instagram

 

For more on Olafur Eliasson, order a copy of our book on the artist, which forms part of our Contemporary Artist Series. For more on the innovative uses of concrete, order our book Concrete.