Chilean visual artist Fernando Prats’ long running fascination with the South Pole culminated last month when his audiovisual work, created during a trip to the Chilean Antarctic territories, was hung in the prestigious Juan Miró Foundation in Barcelona, the city in which Prats is based.
In an interview with Las ÚItimas Noticias, Prats described the allure of Antarctica for him, as an artist constantly searching for places and “extreme situations.”
“The appeal is always the same,” said Prats, who has made the trip on multiple occasions. “Antarctica is the only territory where there are no references; neither political, nor cultural nor religious.”
The center piece of the exhibition is the short movie, “The birth of the world II 1925-2011.” In the film, Prats battles raging winds to plant a flag bearing a drawing of “The Birth of the World” (1926) by Catalán surrealist painter, Juan Miró (1893- 1983), in the ice and snow of the frozen continent.
“The conditions where pretty tough. The temperature was 30 or 35 degrees [Celsius] below zero,” Prats said. “The process of wandering and filming in this situation became part of the story of this exhibition, the merging of this extreme landscape with a work that contains the central ideas of the cosmogony of Miró.”
Prats shot the film in the last days of his trip to Antarctica in 2011, during which time he made his now well-known series Gran Sur (“Great South”) of photographs and archival materials, inspired by a newspaper advertisement put out by adventurer Ernest Shackleton to solicit recruits for his famous journey to the South Pole.
Unfortunately for the artist, who on an earlier trip was given permission to bury environmentally-friendly artworks beneath the Antarctic soil, Prats was not allowed to leave his installation in place for posterity.
The exhibition runs until January 8.