Public invited to help create melting ice-artworks in artist’s homecoming show

 1 January 2024 19 March 2024
19 March 2024

Festivalgoers will use melting ink-infused ice to create two ambitious works of art at the University of Hertfordshire this May.

Titled (in)finite Beginnings, renowned visual artist Abi Spendlove will be returning to her old University to install the pieces during Herts’ two-day Festival of Ideas.

Commissioned by UH Arts + Culture, the artwork invites members of the public to use chunks of ice mixed with ink to draw on a large plywood canvas in Herts’ College Lane Campus throughout the weekend. As the ice melts, its traces will be left by the ink, with patterns, shapes and colours becoming more complicated as more people take part.

Abi, who graduated with an MA in Fine Art from Herts in 2018, says the art installation uses ice as a reminder of how individual people interact with climate change, with small actions contributing to something larger than themselves. (in)finite Beginnings will also explore our participation in natural cycles, with the ice used to create the piece evaporating back into the atmosphere from which it came.

She said: “Human interaction with climate will be played out in this work. Each individual will come with their own personal experiences and concerns; however, their interaction with the work will affect a greater whole.

“My hope is that each person who engages with the artwork will take a moment to slow down, connect to the present moment and watch the movements of the ice melting and the patterns it makes. Perhaps in that moment they'll reflect on the human impact on nature, or on our inability to control the elements. Perhaps they'll consider the significance of collaboration and creativity in reflecting on problems and finding solutions. Or maybe they'll be able to clear their busy mind for a moment and find some calm.”

There will be two versions of the piece, one created throughout the day on Friday 17 May and the other on Saturday 18 May. The first painting will be displayed at the University during the second day of the festival and both paintings will be displayed at the University after the festival.

Free tickets for the University of Hertfordshire’s Festival of Ideas are currently available online.


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