Brazilian artist, Néle Azevedo, has created the Minimum Monument project, which is a critical reading of the monument in contemporary cities. In her series of ice sculpture installations called the Army of Melting Men. “The homage is rendered to the anonymous,” the artist says. “The ice bodies disappear in the city, in a shared experience.”
Néle Azevedo makes the ice sculptures by filling molds with waterand freezing them. Each sculpture is then individually retouched before shipping and installation. Initially the installations started as single figures in public spaces and over time they grew.
The most recent piece of installation art in Stavanger, Norway had 1,300 figures, both male and female. In 2009 she partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to create an installation of 1000 of the tiny ice sculptures in Berlin, Germany’s Gendarmenmarkt Square in advance of the United Nations Climate Change conference.
The installation art in Gendarmenmarkt Square was intended to highlight the direct effect of climate change in the Arctic on the whole planet and the future of humanity and nature. In the 73 degree temperatures, the figures began melting away after about 20 minutes, and its installation was timed to coincide with the release of a report by the WWF on global warming and climate change.
The report by the WWF was Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications which warns that melting ice could cause sea-levels to rise more than 3.3 ft by 2100.
While the effects of global climate change and melting polar ice caps could have dire consequences, the public art created by Néle Azevedo in the form of ice sculpture is clever, moving and ephemeral.