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néle azevedo’s melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change

Art

néle azevedo’s melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change

Néle Azevedo’s tiny ephemeral monuments

Sitting in their hundreds with ankles crossed and heads slightly bowed, these 20-centimeter-tall ice figures make a powerful statement. Created by Brazilian artist Néle Azevedothey’re part of a long term art project titled Minimum Monument that began during her master’s dissertation research in 2003.

Design boom first discovered Azevedo’s work in 2009and since then she’s taken her ice sculptures to cities around the world, from Belfast to Rome, Santiago to São Paulo. The in-situ artworks are placed on monument steps and left to slowly melt. Described by the artist as ‘a critical reading of the monument in the contemporary cities’, the thawing bodies highlight the anonymous and bring to light our mortal condition.

Azevedo explains, ‘In a few-minute action, the official canons of the monument are inverted: in the place of the hero, the anonymous; in the place of the solidity of the stone, the ephemeral process of the ice; in the place of the monument scale, the minimum scale of the perishable bodies. ‘

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in São Paulo (2016) image © Fanca Cortez

Of course, in recent years Azevedo’s work has been adopted as climate change nature. The mass of melting bodies make a haunting connection to the threat humankind faces due to rising global temperatures. ‘Its kinship with that subject is evident,’ adds the artist. In addition to the threat of global warming itself, the sheer number of sculptures sitting together also calls attention to the fact that we humans are all in it together. ‘These threats also finally put Western man in his place, his fate is along with the destiny of the planet, he is not the’ king ‘of nature, but a constituent element of it. We are nature, ‘ continues Azevedo on her website.

Thankfully for us, Azevedo makes sure each Minimum Monument is carefully photographed so we can appreciate the message behind these faceless sculptures long after they’ve melted.

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Pedro Palhares

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in Middlebury (2018)

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in Lima (2014)

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in São Paulo (2016) image © Fanca Cortez

néle azevedo's melting ice figures are a poignant take on climate change and humanity
Minimum Monument in Amsterdam (2012)

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Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Rome (2020) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Silkeborg (2017) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Silkeborg (2017) image © Néle Azevedo

Minimum Monument in Middlebury (2018)

Minimum Monument in Middlebury (2018)

Minimum Monument in Burlington (2018)

Minimum Monument in Burlington (2018)

project info:

name: Minimum Monument

artist: Néle Azevedo

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