Antarctic Art

Capturing Snow and Ice

Antarctic 3
Friedrich Wilhelm Winter, Iceberg December 4, 1898.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The exibition captures the pioneering spirit of 19th century explorers, discovering the grandeur and terror of nature.

  • Facts


    • Historical photographs are displayed next to the contemporary work of Hans-Christian Schink, who documented Antartica in 2010.
    • The old photographs are still bear the scratches and other damage down to the original glass photo plates.
    • In the historical images, the Victorian era German explorers are seen during a land excursion wearing neckties.
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The horizon is a line slightly shifted to the left in the oversized photograph. It was taken shortly before the end of the 19th century from the deck of a ship, where the camera must have been somewhat tilted.

A box-shaped iceberg in the center is almost swallowed by swirling white haze of the background. A seagull circles to the left of it and its blurred silhouette forms a diagonal cross. The photo speaks of the spirit of adventure, the pride of moving under full sail toward a world the likes of which had rarely been seen before.

At the Guardini Galerie in Berlin, the photograph is framed by two monumental works from contemporary photographer Hans-Christian Schink, part of the long iconographic tradition of the Antarctic as a place of both grandeur and horror.

There are photos of snow-covered black rocks rising from the frozen ocean. Contours are blurred in diffused light. The scene is reminiscent of images in dreams. The sky, which takes up a large part of the photographs, is composed primarily of clouds. These are color photographs, but the colors in the coldest region of our planet are primarily white and gray and all the gradations between. It’s a solidified world and just looking at it induces shivers.

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