It was back in 1996 that a handful of artists from around the world started visiting Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland to help build the first ICEHOTEL. About five hundred artists have passed through the tiny Arctic village since then and in November of 2009 another thirty-nine arrived to create one-of-a-kind art suites for the hotel’s twentieth anniversary.
Hailing from Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, England, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the USA, some of the artists have been before, others not. Many have never before worked with snow and ice. It is a mix of men and women between thirty and seventy years of age: painters, multimedia designers, art directors and interior designers. And all of them magicians, to an extent; all of them dreamers.
ICEHOTEL is often referred to as a fairytale world – a Narnia in Swedish Lapland. Is it a hotel or an art installation? A fantasy or the ultimate in hard-edged environmental realism? Created each winter through a combination of wild imagination and backbreaking work, it melts away under the unforgiving rays of the sun come springtime. All that remains are footprints, memories – and a few hopeful possibilities for the next year.
Label it what you will from a distance- it sounds like a place that needs to be experienced in order to be understood.