Crystal Zhou intervew Néle Azevedo
São Paulo May 21st , 2014.
1. When did you make the first “melting man” series?
In April 2005 a host of sculptures was placed at Sé Square in the center of São Paulo, Brazil. My work is called a Minimum Monument, is a urban intervention, in different cities and countries. Hundreds of ice sculptures are taken to central places of cities and with help from the passers-by they are left to melt. The sculptures are tiny men and women, 20 cm tall, placed on stairways. The urban intervention is called “Minimum Monument”, because its meaning is tied up to the concept of the monument – it is an anti-monument. I search reconciliation between the public and private spheres, the subject and the city. In this search I’ve found in the public monument the synthesis of my uneasiness: the historical celebration far from the ordinary man. I then subverted, one by one, the characteristics of official monuments. The scale is minimal – hence the name, “Minimum Monument”, there is no pedestal either hierarchy, the homage is rendered to the anonymous. The ice bodies disappear in the city, in a shared experience. The happening remains on the viewers’ memories and their pictures. The images started to appear on the World Wide Web and were named “Melting Men” by internet users. It also grabbed the attention of WWF Germany, who invited me to do an intervention in Berlin to raise the awareness for the climate change effects. I believe as the reading of an art piece is open, it is valid to see my work as a contemporary monument reminding us of the changes that can threatens our life in the planet.
2. Until now how many places have you install the melting man at?
I have installed the Minimal Monument in 18 cities arroud the Word
3. We can see some red melting man in the group. It looks marked and striking. What was your consideration?
Actually, the red sculpture is a unique piece made for an installation at a specific site: the Latin American Memorial in São Paulo. It was built for cultural, political, economic and social integration of the people of Latin America. So, among four hundred ice sculptures there was only one red, made with my blood. My body is history and the history is written with the blood of many. Then, as my body is history, it’s completely attached to America’s history, of the disappearance of our Indigenous people, at the contemporary issues of our existence.
4. We all know the ice man will melt soon. How to keep the ice man before installation?
I keep them in freezers
5. Have you change the figure of the melting man along with the environment?
Answer - I haven’t changed it because it was conceived as a Monument, and Monuments do not change.
6. Will the project go on in the future? Which place or city will be the next destination?
The next city to host the Minimum Monument will be Birmingham, England in 2nd of August.
7. What is your definition about Melting Art?
When the monuments were built for eternity they would be built with permanents materials like irons, stones, bronze, but, we don’t have more the perspective of eternity. We have been living the finiteness of several resources on this earth so, the melting ice well depicts this urgency we are living in.