Welcome to wintry Russia, and here in Perm, the 7th Russian Competition in Snow and Ice Sculpture is underway.
Participants are busy chipping away at their sub-zero canvases.
Thirty participants from fourteen cities in Russia and Belarus are creating unique ice sculptures in the city centre.
Working in teams of two, competition participants will create fifteen art works.
The competitors are masters in the skill – all have won other ice sculpture competitions – a prerequisite to be selected for the Perm contest.
“Here we have already well-known artists, very experienced, with a big artistic background in this area, because ice sculpture is a unique thing, we know that it is not taught anywhere, so it is in the format of such creative events, festivals, competitions, creative workshops that the sculptors get the experience.” explains Svetlana Kolchanova, curator of the event.
One hundred cubic meters of natural ice from pond water outside the city has been sourced for the competition and cut into blocks for participants to work on.
The teams were given five days to complete the task.
The figures must be at least three meters high from the podium level.
The theme for this year’s event is Elusive Beauty.
Konstantin Evdokimov and Pavel Solovyov were awarded first place with their sculpture called “You are Beautiful”.
Evdokimov explains the challenges posed by the weather.
“The difficulties are about nature, whether it is warm or too cold, whether it is windy, that is, there are a lot of nature-related nuances, and there is its own pleasure in this too, because these are natural forces, forces of nature, and you are working with natural material, so you have to bear in mind that you will have to interact with nature, this is the difficulty.”
The teams battled wind and sub-zero temperatures, which dropped to minus 20 Celsius on some days.
Judges were looking for expressiveness, originality of idea, and technical skill.
An ice sculpture shaped as a packed of dried instant noodles is certainly original.
“We judge according to three criteria. The first criterion is how well the theme is presented, second is the technical skills, that is the ability of the artist to show the uniqueness of this material, its charm; and the third criteria is the artistic expressiveness” explains Aleksey Tyutnev, the creator of Russia Competition of Ice and Snow Sculpture “Winter Vernissage”.
Anatoly Argunov and Vasiliy Argunov from Yakutsk were happy to win second place.
“The competition went very well, at the highest level, we can say, there was something to learn, some ideas to borrow, the climate is very good here too, the weather was good, with wind and snow, this is normal” says Vasiliy.
Evdokimov describes his winning sculpture.
“This sculpture is about woman, about her beauty, about elusive beauty, about the struggle that woman wages, unequal struggle with elusive beauty, and about man who can tell her that she is beautiful no matter what, and for whom the real beauty is inside.”
The winners received commemorative medals and certificates.
The ice sculptures will go on show to the public from 14 January until 15 February.