Courtesy the artist. Collection: Fonds Régional de l’Art Contemporaine du Centre (FRAC), Orléans, France
Gianni Pettena studied architecture at the University of Florence in the late 1960s and was one of a number of students who would become involved in the radical architecture movement in Italy. In 1971 he was invited to be an artist-in-residence at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where he executed several important early works, including Ice House I and II. The first work was performed on an abandoned school building, where water was poured over the walls during wintertime, coating the structure in a layer of ice. A second intervention was performed on a typical South Minneapolis house, which was entombed in ice. Re-materialized, the specific details of the architecture were shrouded by ice and snow, the striking visual impact of the work interrupts the orderly repetition of the neighborhood housing pattern.