Olafur Eliasson's Ice Watch is headed for London
The artist’s cool but sensual response to climate change will be recreated in the British capital next week
Much of Olafur Eliasson’s art, as the title of his new book suggests, is about experience. Sometimes that experience can be as simple and subtle as the enjoyment of certain types of light sources, the beauty of falling water, or the feeling of being in different architectural spaces. On other occasions, it can be a bit more meaningful. Ice Watch, his 2014 installation, which the artist has re-staged on a number of occasions, is one such work.
“Ice Watch is a large-scale intervention in public space that seeks to communicate the urgency of climate change and raise awareness of the need for concerted global action,” explains our new book Olafur Eliasson Experience. “To create the work, twelve large blocks of glacial ice are harvested from the waters near Greenland and presented in a clock formation in a prominent public place to provide a direct and tangible experience of the reality of melting Arctic ice. The first installation of the work in Copenhagen’s City Hall Square from 26 to 29 October 2014 marked the publication of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change’.”
Eliasson’s work was recreated in Paris towards the end of 2015, on the occasion of the UN Climate Conference COP21; and now this December, the Ice Watch comes to London, to be installed on Peter’s Hill and Queen Victoria St, close to St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London.
Eliasson is working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Danish professor of geology, Minik Thorleif Rosing, to haul huge ice blocks from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland; on 11 December he will install them on Bankside, outside Tate Modern, and in the City of London, outside Bloomberg’s European Headquarters. The show lasts until each of the blocks - which initially will weigh between 1.5 and 5 tonnes - have melted.
“The blocks of glacial ice await your arrival,” explains the artist. “Put your hand on the ice, listen to it, smell it, look at it – and witness the ecological changes our world is undergoing. Feelings of distance and disconnect hold us back, make us grow numb and passive. I hope that Ice Watch arouses feelings of proximity, presence, and relevance, of narratives that you can identify with and that make us all engage."
To find out more about the Ice Watch in London go here; to learn more about Eliasson’s life work, and outlook order a copy of our new book Olafur Eliasson Experience. And if you want to make a simple yet meaningful change to your diet to help climate change, take a look at Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen - a cookbook with over 100 vegetarian recipes for the home cook from Eliasson's Berlin studio kitchen.