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Spectacular fire sculpture in art project at Quadriennale Dusseldorf: The Creative Power of Fire
Fire sculpture by Nina Hole (2): In a casing made of insulating material developed for aerospace, the house operates as its own oven; photo @ Nina Hole.
DUSSELDORF.- Danish ceramic artist Nina Hole and her team have built a huge clay house, almost 14 feet high and weighing 2.5 tons, then set it on fire and let it burn for several days. The only artist in the world that builds ceramic sculptures of this size while spectators watch, Hole’s elaborate art project is part of the city’s ongoing fine arts festival that takes place every four years, Quadriennale Düsseldorf.

Düsseldorf, Germany – Every stage in the construction of Nina Hole’s fire sculptures is intense, complicated and risky – and over a period of several days visitors can observe every step while nobody, including the artist and her team, has certainty about the project’s completion. Such is the unique working style of the 70-year old Danish artist, and from June 6-28, she is attempting to build her 24th giant fire sculpture, a live art project called “The Creative Power of Fire,” at Düsseldorf’s Quadriennale, the fine arts festival that takes place every 4 years.

Hole is attempting to build her sculpture – a giant house of clay – on Düsseldorf’s Rhine Meadows right on the Rhine River during three weeks of hard physical labor by a team of 8 ceramists. After laying a foundation of fireproof bricks, the team will shape individual clay stones and build a clay house with them. The event’s high point is a fire that will bake the clay house in an insulating shell for three days using materials developed for aerospace. During the final stage of the fire, probably close to sunrise, the shell will be removed so the entire house can burn freely while sawdust is thrown at the sculpture, changing its surface in the process.

Although this is Hole’s 24th fire sculpture, the entire project is steeped in suspense about its outcome and success as many unpredictable variables come into play, such as the quality of the clay, the foundation, weather, and last but not least the artist’s fitness. But to Nina Hole, the spectators’ fascination along the way makes the attempt worthwhile. “The only thing I can guarantee is that there will be a huge fire,” says Hole.

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