Antarctica turns gallery for artists

Published: Wednesday 31 January 2007

-- On Decmber 22, 2006, sculptor Lita Albuquerque put up for view, an artist's conception of the realities of vast time and space in an unlikely gallery a corner of Antarctica. Stellar Axis, a 182 metre installation, consisting of 99 blue fiberglass spheres of varying sizes in a pattern mirroring the paths of stars at the austral summer solstice was up for only a day. "I had an image of the entire planet with the pyramids aligned to the stars," Albuquerque said.

Since the sun shines around the clock in the icy continent at this time of year, no stars were visible, but their courses were plotted by astronomer Simon Balm, who worked with Albuquerque on the project. The work's creation was photographed day by day and the completed piece was also photographed from a helicopter and so was its dismantling.

One reason for the work's ephemeral nature is the Antarctic Conservation Act that prohibits pollution of the continent.Albuquerque has done massive ephemeral works before, including at the pyramids.

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