Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s latest public artwork is set to confront Londoner’s with the realities of an issue of the gravest importance.
Climate change has been one of the biggest stories of the past few years, but it feels like the issue has really come to the fore in 2018, as we edge ever closer to the 2030 deadline that the UN has set to stem the risk of temperature-related droughts, floods, wildfires, and food shortages for millions upon millions of the planet’s inhabitants.
Ice Watch sees the artist collaborating with geologist Minik Rosing on a project which places 24 blocks of ice outside the Tate Modern on 11 December 2018. The blocks were, we’re told, “taken out of the waters of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland where they were melting into the ocean after having been lost from the ice sheet.” Six additional blocks will be placed outside Bloomberg’s European headquarters.
The ice will, as ice is prone to do, melt, leaving the viewers confronted by the tangible effects of climate change.
In a statement accompanying the news of the installation, Olafur says, “By enabling people to experience and actually touch the blocks of ice in this project, I hope we will connect people to their surroundings in a deeper way and inspire radical change.” He goes on to add that, "we must recognise that together we have the power to take individual actions and to push for systemic change. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action.”
It is the third time the artist has staged a variation of Ice Watch, with previous instalments taking place in Copenhagen and Paris. Each iteration has coincided with a global climate change event.
Given the nature of the material at the artist’s disposal, we can’t accurately predict when the exhibition will run till, but it is expected that it’ll be viewable until 21 December 2018.
Olafur is working with climate-orientated, London based NGO Julie’s Bicycle and Bloomberg Philanthropies on Ice Watch, and a comprehensive carbon footprint will be produced on completion of the project.