On March 2nd, I created my first land art, the "Transient Landart Gravity Elm", a transient land art made from snow. It was located at about 1800 meters altitude on the snow covered eternal mountains around Elm, Switzerland and lasted two days before new snowfall covered it and made it disappear again.
Here is how it came to fruition: Because of the Pandemic, we had a partial lockdown in Switzerland that lasted from mid January to the end of February. In the last night of the lockdown period, I suddenly had the idea to create this huge Gravity artwork out of snow. I was lying in bed and imagined how it would look like and how I would create it.
I wondered: Is it allowed to do unannounced land art in Switzerland?
Should I ask for permission from the government or the ski-lift operator?
Would people actually notice?
What's the point of doing it?
It did not let me loose but I feared the making, the possible failure, the implications and decided not to do it.
During the day it came up to my mind several times and I semi-unconsciously worked further on the idea.
The next night from March 1 to March 2, I had many sleepless hours mind-working on the artwork again. In my fantasy, I was walking along the silhouette of the drops and scratched a frame to make it stand out from the rest of the landscape. I imagined a whole band of Gravity drops around the peak, realized that I would not manage and restarted on a smaller version. I saw the work in the landscape, knew the location, where I wanted to realize it - and that's when I decided that I have to do it.
I got up early and drove to Elm. I was having stage fright.
Sitting on the chairlift, getting higher and higher, I felt both calm and nervous. We passed the tree line and I saw the spot where I wanted to create it - like in my imagination. It seemed that the artwork was there already, I just had to find the edges of the drops and make them appear more prominent.
The time to get to the top of the mountain felt to take longer than usual. Finally I could get to the slopes and dashed down hill. Then off the slopes and through the deep snow to slowly arrive at the location I had chosen. Was it the right place? I would not know until after I had finished parts of the work.
I took off my skis and started to walk the outline of the drops into the snow. The snow was quite hard and I did not sink in deep, just about 20 to 30 centimeters. I did one drop and removed the snow below, then a second one, then a few more. Having done about a dozen distinctive drops, I put on my skis and flattened the parts below the drops. I liked that the many lines from previous snowboarders and skiers gave the snow of the drops an interesting surface that distinguished them further from the flat surface below the drops. I worked for about an hour just to carve those drops and add a few meters of flat surface below them.
I had an occasional spectator from the chairlift above, but they must have guessed that I had lost something because there wasn't really much to see yet.
I took a break, drove down to the station to take the chairlift up again and to watch if the location and the size of the work were to my taste.
I was surprised to see that it was far away from the chair lift.
From below it had seemed to be much closer. Also the size of then about 9m length seemed fairly small.
I definitely had to work harder. At least the way I worked seemed to correspond to create the result I was looking for. I needed to make it stand out better and had to increase its size.
I came back to my work in progress, started with a distinguishing flat surface above the work, then slid down, took off my skis and started to walk more drop silhouettes into the snow. The sun was high in the sky and although the temperature was around zero, I had to take off my jacket and sweater. I walked and walked, carved and carved and after having about 20 nicely formed drops of various sizes and length, I started the flattening of the part below the drops.
I couldn't have counted the number of times I had to climb up and slide down again.
At this time I had a few spectators, some that even came close to my working site and observed for several minutes. No one dared to come up close to ask what I was doing though.
I would have been both scared and pleased if this would have happened. I still wasn't sure if I am actually allowed to do what I was doing.
All in all, it took me about 6 hours to finish the work. Was it the way I had imagined? I drove down to find out while going up again.
In the photo above, the borders don't look straight, but that's because there is a pit in the lower left corner.
I enjoyed the view and the work.
It corresponded to what I had imagined.
It's size came to be of about 25m length x 12m height x 28cm depth, maybe even bigger.
My legs hurt, I even had a cramp for a few minutes, but I was overly happy.
After taking several photographs and driving down the slopes, I thought about going up again for more photos, but my legs hurt too much. I had to go home.
I had created the artwork to celebrate the reopening of museums and galleries and shops in general.
Hopefully I could inspire some snow sportsman and women with my art.
About 10 days later I read about Beeple and his auction result at Christie's. That's the first time I heard of NFTs, Non-Fungible-Tokens.
While most NFTs at the moment represent digital art, there are tokens that represent real art. Often the artist sells the token and the artwork and recently the value of the token often outdo the price paid for the artwork.
Digital Tokens of art representing a new "Gold standard"?
My land art was supposed to be transient and impossible to be purchased.
It only lasted two days before it got covered by fresh snowfall and disappeared again.
When I found out about NFTs, I decided to turn this artwork into an NFT.
My first land art and my first NFT.
If you have a wallet and Ethereum, you can purchase this artwork here:
That's your chance to get my very first NFT, and probably even the first NFT by an artist from Glarus, Switzerland.
The price is set at 0.2 ETH, which is currently about USD 360.
I created 10 equal NFTs of this work.
As you know now, this is all very new to me and I am eager to learn more. If you have experience with NFT's please share them with me. I am very interested to hear your stories.
I hope you enjoy life, are safe and healthy.
Turn your life colorful!
Antonio Wehrli Art Space
8762 Schwanden GL