↦  url #3  ON ICE
concept, idea & curated by Laurens Mariën, co-curated by Leontien Allemeersch, produced by Campo (Ghent).

ON ICE, was and still is the first exhibition ever curated on an ice skating rink. More than just an exhibition, it became a happening/performance/a social occasion where people with all different cultural backgrounds met each other. You had the art people who came to the exhibition, the ice skaters who are doing this in a competition, and also the people who came there just for fun.

As a curator I never really liked those typical exhibitions, where there is a big white space with very little work. Where being present at the opening becomes more important then the exhibition itself and where everything is hermetically sealed. With ON ICE I wanted to create a different kind of white cube, existing of 3000 m2 of ice. I wanted to dare 25 artist to make a work especially for his exhibition or for them to find a way to present an existing work under these conditions:

  • Every artist got 10 Hockey pucks, this they could use in the way they wanted, It could be used as a material, but also to make their work slide over the ice. I liked the idea that the exhibition could be in motion, and didn't have to be static.
  • The owner of the ice skating rink, only wanted to give us time in between his normal program, this meant that we only had 30 min to build up the entire exhibition. And that the duration of the exhibition would only last for 4.5 hours. Because of the 30 minute build up, I decided to make a performance out of this. The lights went out, there was smoke coming from a side door, and then the car that cleans the ice came out, followed by the 25 artists installing and putting the work on the ice rink. The audience was sitting in the cafeteria watching this from above. After the work was installed, we asked figure skaters to do a demonstration between the art works. In Belgium figure skating is called: “kunstschaatsen” what literally translates into “artskating”. After this the ice rink was open to the audience, people could ice skate between the exhibition, get warm waffles and glue-wine. Besides the visual art, there where a couple of performances on the ice and a DJ set. So in the end of the night there was a small party on the ice with people dancing on their skates.
  • Instead of having white walls, there were no walls at all, there was also no electricity in the centre of the Ice, only on the sides. So a video artist decided to beam on the ice and use the ice as the “screen”. Other artists wanted their work moving around all night,...
  • Because of the short duration of the exhibition it became a happening, all artists were having fun, they were ice skating, falling down, drinking, laughing, dancing…. This was the same for the audience. I really liked that because of the ice, people couldn't pretend to something they were not, because they constantly had to see if they would fall down.

    The people who weren't used to go to exhibitions also really enjoyed the fact that their habitat was taken over by these “strange” artists. Even though they sometimes didn't like the work. It brought a very wide range of people together, in a very nice atmosphere.