installation ‘gravity flow’ by douglas mandry
gravity flow by douglas mandry
Artist and photographer Douglas Mandry’s latest work, “Gravity Flow”, pushes his artistic expression into a new medium. Developed as a public installation displayed in the Swiss wilderness, the project aims to address the pressing topic of climate change and its impact on local glaciers, which are visibly retreating after melting. ‘Gravity Flow’ is a series of five sculptures – made of recycled glass – depicting a representation and exploration of glaciers, questioning how humans perceive and interact with their natural environment. By depicting glaciers, Mandry vividly conveys a time-sensitive message about the unprecedented rate at which climate change is occurring and its consequences.
Check Douglas Mandry x BALLY – DAAily bar at Milan Design Week 2022 to learn more about the artist’s exploration of climate change.
all the pictures © Douglas Mandry Studio (unless otherwise stated)
study the shape of glacier mills
Asked about the concept behind his project, Mandry comments: ‘The idea came about during intense research with the Glaciology Research Group at ETH. I came across this term, “gravitational flow”, which was related to the phenomenon of ice sculpted by the flow of water under glacial ice. The idea of perpetual motion in something that we experience as very still – the glacier – struck me. The sculptures therefore reproduce the contours of the cavities found under the surface of the glaciers. These mills are formed by meltwater flowing downwards, gradually carving hollow spaces in the ice – the result of accelerating climate change.
To study the shape of these cavities, the artist joined ETH Professor in the Department of Glaciology, Daniel Farinotti, on an expedition to the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland. By inserting a 3D scanner into the shafts, the researchers gathered the data needed to create a digital model of several mills that inspired the shape of the final works of art.
Douglas Mandry | image ©Philippe Rupp
depicting the ambiguous qualities of ice using recycled glass
Mandry chose recycled glass for his sculptures to express the ever-changing state of matter and to generate a positive upside-down copy of the glacier mills model. Working with a Swiss glass craftsman, he opted for this material to meet the need to think more sustainably and the fragility of materiality.
“The manual work of glass is an age-old cultural heritage. It has survived time and technological developments, but is still used as in the past, except, of course, for industrial use. Glass is ubiquitous in our daily lives, so much so that we don’t even notice it. He is also an important player in the photographic medium; think of the original lenses, glass plates, etc. But above all, its physical state is ambiguous since it lies between a solid and a liquid. Moreover, it can be fragile but extremely dense. All these sometimes paradoxical qualities led me to experiment with glass and to propose large, heavy sculptures, based on an immaterial visualization of a volatile natural phenomenon. explains the artist.
Gravity Flow will be exhibited outdoors on the Muottaz Muragl peak in Switzerland’s Engadine mountains for an entire year, starting in August 2022. By showcasing his work in a natural setting, Mandry is not only exposing it to the conditions changing weather that could alter its appearance but also invites visitors to experience outdoor art.
“As for a glacial erratic, the encounter with this translucent form, similar to a block of ice, has something surreal that arouses our curiosity and invites us to reflect on our environment, on the current situation of the glaciers, and on what is actually happening beneath their surfaces.The sculptures, from glacial mills originating from the Rhone Glacier, are intentionally placed in another glacial area of Switzerland.Like boulders, erratic stones transported by melting ice over thousands of years , the sculptures underline this slow passage from one place to another and crystallize them in an instant in time. he concludes. five sculptural pieces in recycled glass
close up of recycled glass texture
Last name: Gravity flow
location: Muottaz Muragl Peak, Engadine, Switzerland
pattern: Studio Douglas Mandry
exhibition date: August 2022 – August 2023