The desire to make ICEHOTEL a showcase for highclass art and design has been implicit right from the start. That’s the big difference between the original and the many copies that have appeared throughout the world over the years. each winter, professional artists from near and far come to Jukkasjärvi to create in snow and ice. For some, this is their first opportunity to work in these materials. others are experienced ice artists.
Arne Bergh is the Artistic director at ICEHOTEL. each season, he and his colleagues in the ICEHOTEL Art & design Group tend to breathe a sigh of relief when the artists have been chosen for the coming winter. arne explains the selection process.
“We receive applications from artists and designers from all around the world. The final date for applications is in mid-July. Last year, around 250 artists applied, which is about the usual number. It’s a good number, since it gives us a very broad selection. Competition is tough. after the vacation period, usually in mid-august, the jury gathers to make their picks.”
Describe the selection process?
“All entries are unpacked and the sketches are displayed without the artists’ names being disclosed. Then, the jury members assess the sketches and place their votes. There is an incredible spectrum in the art, with installation and formation of the rooms, with both figurative and abstract expressions. There are so many talented designers, industrial designers and architects that apply. We require that the art is a unique design created solely for ICEHOTEL.
ICEHOTEL is an original exhibition that can only be experienced during the four months of the hotel’s life. The artists have three materials to work with: ice, snow and snice (the perfect blend of snow and ice). They have at their disposal a crew of five light designers for the finishing touches of light in their ephemeral art.
You mentioned the variety of experienced and novice ice artists. What does that mean for this art form?
“The ‘old’ ice artists are mentors for those working in the material for the first time. That mix vitalizes the ice art. over the years, we’ve seen what can happen when daring novices take on a new material. The art form is continually renewed; new things happen every year. Even though we’ve amassed quite a lot of experience by now, it’s still new territory.”
When will this year’s version of ICEHOTEL be ready?
”ICEHOTEL experiments with new technology, such as pre-fabricating in order to enable building even earlier and thereby extending the season. This means that we will have ten rooms ready as soon as by the end of November.”