Press release

Art work in Antarctica

[14. January 2005] 

Since December 2004, artist Lutz Frisch has been installing a ‘library in ice’ at Neumayer Station, part of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. The library contains approximately 1000 books and is open for actual use. Fritsch contacted artists and scientists of all disciplines in person and asked them to select and donate one book each for this extraordinary place. The books are dedicated to the nine over-wintering scientists who spend 15 months in this icy environment. On Wednesday, January 19, the ‘library in ice’ will be inaugurated during the New Year’s reception in Bremen’s town hall. This will be the first event of the anniversary celebrations ’25 years of Alfred Wegener Institute’.

New Year’s reception in Bremen’s town hall
The reception in Bremen’s town hall for invited guests is scheduled for 11 am. After Bremen’s mayor Henning Scherf has delivered his New Year’s address, the artistic director of the cultural capital bid, Martin Heller, will officially inaugurate the library together with Fritsch. “In a radically expressive way, this work raises the question of the relationship between art and life. Is it mere luxury to indulge in literature amidst the unreal nature of the icy desert? Or is it not culture itself which allows us to distinguish between mere survival and real life?” Heller suggests.
On January 19, the library inauguration will be transmitted live over the telephone from the German research station (which is manned year round) to Bremen town hall. Simultaneously, recent film clips from the ice will be shown.

Lutz Fritsch and the AWI
The Alfred Wegener Institute has been collaborating with the artist for many years. In 1993/1994, Fritsch created his sculpture “Raum-Fahrt” (‘Space-Travel’), incorporating the world’s oceans and consisting of two yellow steles. One of them is located in Bremen’s town centre, where as the other one is installed on the bow of the research vessel Polarstern. The ‘library in ice’ is the second project completed by Lutz Fritsch in collaboration with the Alfred Wegener Institute. The institute’s director Prof Dr Jörn Thiede is delighted about the unusual artistic project: “The inauguration of the ice library is the first event during the ‘25 years Alfred Wegener Institute’ anniversary year. The library is a sign of our dialogue with the arts and fits extremely well into the context ‘City of science 2005’.

The project is funded and supported by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, by the Arts Foundation NRW, and by private sponsors.

Bremerhaven, January 14, 2005


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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.