This May, I am going to Spitsbergen in order to draw icebergs. I have rented a studio and a small room in the artist house. Once I’m there, I will go iceberg hunting. And for this, I need your help.

I’ve been drawing ice and icebergs for over two years. I draw «Unknown Icebergs», since I have never seen an actual iceberg first-hand. I only know them from films and photos. For this series of drawings I use my inner images. But this lack of personal experience is increasingly a restriction.

So I will travel to Spitsbergen, rent a studio at the artist house «Galleri Svalbard», and for one month, I will gather images and impressions of icebergs and glaciers and feel the ice. I will work outside again. And I will write a blog so you can be part of my expedition into the eternal ice.

On Spitsbergen I am hunting. For the iceberg, for my iceberg. The White Giant who follows me in my dreams. I draw. I brave the storm. I brave the cold. I draw. In the storm the paper rattles. I struggle with my paper. I draw. I hide from polar bears. I draw. I am searching for the perfect view onto the best iceberg. I spread my papers. I draw. I draw the ice, analytically. My pencils are frozen. They crack, they shiver. They are cold. But not me, because I draw. The water for my colors freeze. The glaciers calve. The floe lurches. I draw. The floe passes an iceberg. I am in the pack ice. I draw.

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What and where is Spitsbergen?

Spitsbergen is an island bordering the Arctic Ocean, and therefore also bordering the pack ice. Spitsbergen has a population of 2000 people and 10000 polar bears. In Spitsbergen, you’ll find glaciers, ice and icebergs.

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Why ice and icebergs at all?

The series of the «Unknown Iceberg» has developed out of my series «Massifs». These «Massifs» are drawings which show huge, scenery-like mountains. Only drawn with pencil up to a scale of 2.5 x 4.5 m, sometimes multipart, sometimes as a single sheet. It takes me several months to finish a single «Massif». These are not real landscapes, they have no model. The drawing itself arises out of the process of drawing. Layer over layer of hatching builds up a structure which is reminiscent of rocks and mountains. Sometimes they look like real mountains, sometimes more like constructed scenery.

n these «Massifs» there are structures which remind me of ice or glaciers. So I started to draw ice and icebergs. At this moment, there are more than 50 «Unknown Icebergs» in different sizes. This series is entitled «Memorial For The Unknown Iceberg».

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We have to act

Certainly I will not live to see a time when all icebergs vanish, but the melting of the glaciers, the shrinking of the Arctic pack ice and the steady global warming scares me a lot. Therefore, I fear that the title «Memorial For The Unknown Iceberg» carries more truth than I would prefer. The eternal ice is not eternal anymore, the icebergs shrink and the polar bear population as well. In this sense, my work is political. We all have to act. My part is to confront this issue without statistics, climatic curves and CO2-measurements.

This is what You get

If you like the idea, please support me. In exchange, you will receive works of mine. For example, you could get a hand-drawn postcard stamped at the northernmost post office in the world. I can offer watercolor works painted with glacier water, or drawings I have done in Spitsbergen, or later in my studio.

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What happens with the money?

The stay at Spitsbergen costs money, of course. Unfortunately it is not a stipend. My expenses will be the rent for studio and living, travel costs, material and equipment. I also want to take some guided tours. Guided because it is a nearly impassable landscape and you must always beware of polar bears.

For more information or if you have questions, please send me an email: info@ralftekaat.de. I would be glad to answer. Thank you for your support.

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