Since prehistoric times, the artistic shaping of sand has been the oldest form of sculpture. While sand castles are usually built by children playing on the sandy beach, sand sculptures are often detailed representations of real buildings or monumental fantasy structures.
On the beach at the Silbersee the artists Mariechen Danz (*1980) and Kerstin Brätsch (*1979) are creating a sand sculpture that incorporates dinosaurs, fossils and rocks as traces of the climatic conditions in previous ages. Human organs and cell structures are connected in a spiral shape to reflect microcosmic and macrocosmic relationships.
A central issue for both artists, whose double portrait complete with design furniture is also part of the scenery, is that of the traces that humanity is now leaving behind: what will those who come thousands of years after us discover as fossils in the layers of stone that survive from our era?
Not only the choice of imagery places the sculpture in the tradition of archaeological excavation. The craft techniques used to shape the sand are also a reminder of this: The sand is applied in layers in large wooden formworks and compacted. Once the wooden supports are removed, the actual modelling beginsduring which a wide array of tools being used, ranging from saws and shovels to brushes, scalpels and straws.
The sand sculpture is realised by the celebrated sand sculptors Benno Lindel and Martijn Rijerse. At the lake, the work will be exposed to the climate and the weather and will constantly change. Its ephemeral character will not only be representative of the question of the earth’s continued existence against a background of rising sea levels and increasing climate disasters, but will also reflect on durability as one of sculpture’s traditional qualities.
The installation Clouded in Vain was developed as part of the exhibition Ruhr Ding: Klima and was on display from June 2—June 27, 2021 at Silbersee II in Haltern am See.