5pm Wednesday, a 10 foot container is placed on Torget, the doors open and the curious public of Stavanger starts to gather. One by one small ice-cast figures are handed to the public by the artist Néle Azevedo and her assistants and people are urged to place these sculptures on the public steps.
The response is a contagious enthusiasm for participation and the public starts to add to the growing community of ice figures seated in the public space, building the temporary Minimum Monument. melting away in contrast to the Alexander Kielland bronze monument and the Anthony Gormley figures spread through town.
There is an energy of curiosity and bewilderment why these melting sculptures are being placed in the public space is in the air. Photographs are taken to hold onto the moment before they melt away. And many questions are asked…
Little does the public know that for the last 9 days Néle and a team of assistants were carefully handling moulds and frozen figurines towards the artists vision for this temporary public intervention.
In conversation with the artist while taking fragile ice sculptures out of their moulds, the artist offers some of her thoughts on the process and her impressions of her work in Stavanger a few days before the intervention. The work changes from the context of Brazil, her home country. In Stavanger there is more of a culture of public interventions, there are monuments that celebrate cultural figures and even some that acknowledge the everyday. In contrast to the context of Brazil, here the relationship to ice is more commonly part of the environment. More so than the affinity of the works to the climate, the melting human form allude to the insignificance of the human presence on the planet by compressing a life time of existence into a temporary intervention.
A few hours after the intervention nothing but puddles of water were left from the artwork on site, but the minimum Monument will certainly continue to exist in the memory of the participants and viewers.