‘Summer-Winter’ was conceived in 1988, as a commission from the city of Malmö for the 10-year anniversary of the pedestrian precinct, which consists of two streets, one big one intersecting with a smaller one. I suggested that ten blocks of ice, as large as possible, should be placed at the intersection, in the middle of summer. I had seen it before – snow and ice high up in the Alps and massive, glittering glacier walls in New Zealand. The joining of two opposites, two different seasons, is dazzling and unreal.
Could this vision be transferred to Malmö? Ice in the middle of summer in a city that normally does not have snow even in winter? The idea was simple. The blocks of ice were deep-frozen and placed in a formation where they overlapped each other, making up something that was shaped like a small glacier. To produce the ice blocks we used simple wooden moulds which were filled with crushed ice. It was frozen to 30 degrees centigrade below zero, and more cold water was added little by little. The ice blocks were made as big as possible, their size only limited by problems of handling and transportation.
The ice blocks were delivered to the pedestrian precinct early one morning. I felt tense; they had been waiting in the freezing plant for several weeks. The summer had been unusually cold; it was only now, in August, that the weather was getting warmer, and this cold celebration gave the citizens of Malmö quite a surprise. The blocks of ice remained over the weekend. They melted in places, irregularly, in glittering formations looking like rocks by the sea. They were more beautiful than I had expected. The water between the ice fragments melted faster, exposing the crushed ice. This gave the blocks a special look, as if they were made from piled-up pendants from chandeliers. It was wonderful to watch grown-ups behave like kids; they touched the ice eagerly, they walked among the ice blocks. Nobody asked what the big idea was or how much it had cost.