Watching the glacier disappear
Ephemeral Eternity

06.07 – 11.08.2024

Watching the Glacier Disappear, a vast public art exhibition, unfolds indoors and outdoors across Switzerland, from Lausanne to Graubünden, and from Valais to Zurich. It brings together artists of all disciplines, past and present. It networks and federates numerous partner institutions around the highly topical theme of melting glaciers.

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The decentralised exhibition Watching the Glacier Disappear adopts artists’ point of view on the disappearance of glaciers. It brings together a wide range of partners, inviting them to consider the processes that are underway with the help of artists who, through the ages and in a variety of ways, have expressed the complex relationship between humans and their environment. The inevitable end of the glaciers could herald a new beginning: learning to listen to and feel the world again, and trying to occupy a more sensitive, humble, just, and peaceful place in it as human beings.

Glacier melting in Switzerland as a result of global warming is having a number of consequences for the environment, the economy and local communities. As well as increasing the risk of avalanches and other natural disasters, shrinking glaciers are reducing freshwater reserves, affecting water supplies, agriculture, and hydroelectric power generation. Swiss alpine tourism is also being affected, with the gradual disappearance of glaciers threatening the income of mountain regions.

The Swiss government has set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and is developing scientific research to better understand glacier melting and develop adaptation strategies. However, despite these efforts, glacier melting remains a major challenge requiring global action to limit global warming and mitigate its impacts.

Ephemeral Eternity

Contemporary artists are using their work to raise public awareness of this environmental crisis, as demonstrated by the works that mudac has chosen to feature in this exhibition.

For example, Sandrine Pelletier’s Tarabeiza (2017) depicts fragile mountains of ice, while Anaïs Dunn’s Tension Paysage (2021) evokes the transformation of glaciers into icebergs. Finally, Patrik Graf’s How I sought proximity in solitude (2020-2022) uses thawed permafrost to symbolise current or future environmental change.

By combining different forms of creation with the issue of melting glaciers, these artists are encouraging us to think and act in favour of preserving our environment. The Ephemeral Eternity exhibition is therefore fully in line with mudac’s belief in the ability of designers to generate new ways of questioning and being in the world.

At Photo Elysée

Photo Elysée is taking part in the Watching the glacier disappear project, presenting eight photographs from its collection – in XXL format – during the Nuit des images event on June 22.

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From June 29 to September 29, the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne is also taking part in Watching the glacier disappear. The MCBA is taking part in this project by installing a work by the artist Katie Paterson (*1981), Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull, Solheimajökull (2007), in the permanent exhibition of The collection, in dialogue with Le glacier du Rosenlaui (1841), a romantic painting by the Genevan artist François Diday (1802- 1877).

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