Video: On A Crown Of Ice And Snow
Since 1963, every January, China has hosted the International Ice and Snow Festival, recognized as one of the largest in the world. The space for the grandiose exhibition was chosen taking into account the climatic features of the area: the harsh climate, which allows ice and snow sculptures to survive as long as possible; the proximity of the ice necessary for their creation - the Sungari River. The local tradition of making lanterns out of ice played an important role. It dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The official period of the festival is 1 month, but if weather conditions permit, the organizers extend it up to 3 months. The area occupied by sculptural compositions is about 600 thousand square meters. m and tends to increase from year to year. In 2016, the next 32nd festival will be held, which will open on January 5.Artists and sculptors will begin their creative new year and devote their works to the theme of "Pearl on a crown of ice and snow."
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is one of the four largest ice festivals in the world, along with the Japanese Snow Festival in Sapporo, the Canadian Winter Carnival in Quebec and the Norwegian Ski Festival. It takes place at five venues: Harbin Ice and Show World, Ice Lantern Garden Party, Sun Island Scenic Area, Yabuli International Ski Resort, Zhaolin Park.
The uniqueness of the project can be considered the fact that the exposition each year has its own theme, but, most often, it consists of ice copies of famous architectural structures, made in full size. More than 50 life-size architectural structures made of ice and snow made up the exposition. The subjects for sculptural compositions are also myths of the peoples of the world, images of fairy-tale characters and famous personalities.
Viewers can navigate the exposition on foot and in special horse-drawn carriages. In the daytime, the sculptures are harmoniously combined with the white background of the snowy landscapes, and in the evening and at night, they are illuminated by a multitude of multi-colored lights. The contrast between the night landscape and the light creates a special emotional and imaginative environment that attracts a large number of spectators at night and in the evening. Strengthening the effect is achieved through the use of modern pyrotechnics, traditionally used in China, giving a special national flavor.
The exposition is interesting for both children and adults. Access to some sculptural works is restricted or prohibited, but this is rather an exception to the rule, since the viewer can “experience” most of the exhibits, that is: walk along the corridors of the palace, ride down a hill, climb a structure, etc.
The organizers of the festival create various themed events with sculptures made of ice and snow in the background, for example, numerous weddings or sports events. In 2016, the organizers have already planned about 500 cultural and sporting events for this period of time, including the All-China Ice Hockey Championship, the All-China Alpine Skiing Championship, the Harbin International Winter Swimming Competition, the international ice and snow group wedding ceremony, the Chinese-Russian dance performances, Russian ice-snow painting exhibition. The result of the International Festival is a multi-million annual tourist flow to the city of Harbin, the development of the art of ice and snow sculpture, as well as the strengthening of international relations.
In addition to the largest festivals of ice and snow sculpture, open-air winter expositions began to be actively used by regions associated with skiing. One of them is the area of the French Alps. During the winter season, originals and copies of sculptures by great artists adorn the slopes of the French resort of Courchevel, including the legendary David Michelangelo.
The Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is also held in Valloire (France). The works are exhibited on the main street of the city throughout the winter season. Eight participating countries were involved in one of the ice sculpture competitions, and Russia also joined them. One of the ski slopes has become a platform for the exhibition of ice sculptures. The expositions worked around the clock. At night, the sculpture was illuminated. Works made of ice were exhibited on snow pedestals and looked like an easel sculpture. The exposition was a gallery of works with regular rows opposite each other. Snow sculptures were presented in the form of monumental works.
Unlike the Harbin festival, the exposition had a passive impact on the viewer, it was devoid of interactive and entertaining moments. The exhibits on display were intended for visual perception only. The project has become a favorite place for leisure activities and the main attraction of the city.
Similar expositions are organized in many countries with a developed tourist infrastructure. Managers of prestigious resorts use contemporary art exhibitions as a marketing ploy to attract more visitors. The open-air exposition becomes not only a real "pearl on the crown" of winter New Year's entertainment, but also an attractive factor when choosing a tourist route.
Photos from the 2015 festival in Harbin
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