Written by Camilla Bondareva
22nd July, as Greenwich, CT. suffered heat record with +49 degrees Celsius a wind blew in from the north and with it three ladies. “Arctic Women and their Art” was a groundbreaking exhibition in which three prominent artists known from ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi featured some of their artwork outside the medium of ice and snow.
The exhibition, that lasted until 27th August 2011, is a good example of how artistic meetings at ICEHOTEL form strong bonds and a network that extends far beyond the little village 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.
Mary Gibbons, owner of Mary Gibbons Presents and Fawn’s Leap Productions and aspiring art patron, arranged the exhibition that was held at Greenwich Arts Council. Mary is romantically in love with ICEHOTEL and travels to Jukkasjärvi every winter to be involved in the reconstruction of one of Sweden’s largest art projects. She also wrote parts of the ADC catalogue 2010 and was involved in the editing of the ADC catalogue 2011. Her dream and vision is to arrange symposiums and workshops in Greenwich using the network and spirit at ICEHOTEL but where mediums other than snow and ice are shown.
Sofi Ruotsalainen exhibited recent designs and paintings called “Bodyshapes” – body landscapes. "I used really old canvas; a tarpaulin from the local mine that I found in the forest behind my house. I was going to toss it but then I discovered that it was mended and changed my mind, took it home and cleaned it. There was so much work put into that canvas," says Sofi. Sofi made prints of herself (as base for the paintings) by applying paint on her body with a roller and then pressing herself against the stretched canvas. "The back was the hardest so I got help from a friend that stood in my living room in her saucy clothes and talked on the telephone while rolling paint over me. Standing there naked I thought to myself that I was probably passing some sort of border. But it was great fun! There is only lust behind my work. Lust, form and lines."
Nina Hedman is a multimedia artist whose work has been shown all over Sweden and Italy. She also teaches art. At Greenwich Arts Council her sculpture “Fikamuddra” (a voluptuous female god with bakery in her hands) were exhibited along with killer slug sculptures with women faces. One commonly sees zestful female forms in Nina’s art.
What inspired her to make these artworks? Well, Nina recently bought an allotment. But killer slugs also claim their place and are somewhat hot-tempered, just as one should dare to claim one’s place when maturing. They symbolize womanliness and are cheeky at the same time.
AnnaSofia Mååg is essentially a ceramic artist, noted for her simple and universal tone. Her sculptures combine a variety of influences – western, eastern and her life in the middle of Swedish Lapland. Her art is included in public places, for example The National Musem of Fine Arts in Stockholm and the ICHEON World Ceramic Centre in South Korea. She works and lives in Malmberget, 10 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and every night her studio and home shake from the mining company’s explosions as they separate iron ore from the primary rock. It’s not a coincidence that her largest exhibit – a stunning, black stoneware bowl – is called “Mine Flower”. AnnaSofia will lead the ice sculpting classes in ICEHOTEL this winter.
During “Arctic Women and their Art”, Mary received permission from Selectman, Peter Tesei of Greenwich to arrange another art symposium. The summer 2012, artists from ICEHOTEL will gather to create 15-20 sculptures. Mary has also started to write a book Arctic Women and their Art.