Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nele Azevedo's Melting Men

In 2002, Brazilian artist/researcher Nele Azevedo began working on her Minimum Monument project, intervening in public and highly-trafficked spaces with hundreds of humanoid ice sculptures, each 20 centimeters high, and doomed. The installations are so defined by their ephemerality that they can only be set out quickly enough with the help of passers-by.

The result is breathtaking, but also alarming as we learn that the works serve as a warning of the dangers of global warming. We must watch the doleful figures waste away and eventually disappear, with the drip, drip, drip of their melting bodies reinforcing the passage of time like a terrible clock. Reflexively, we wish to save them. We're made to understand, if we've forgotten, that a human being is more precious than commodity, but that, like the thing, we are dispensable. We are no more immortal than a block of ice, left out in the sun.

With her "army of melting men," Azevedo has traveled worldwide.

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