Who Owns the Arctic?

Polar Heroism and Climate Change in Mariele Neudecker's Tankwork Cook and Peary (2013)

  • Anne Hemkendreis (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


The ambiguous “conquest” of the North Pole is the core element of Mariele Neudecker’s tankwork Cook and Peary (2013). The artist explores the idea of an untouched icy landscape and its roots in Western heroic narratives. In reference to an aesthetic of the sublime and modern forms of knowledge presentation, precarious voids in the viewers’ longing for intact nature are questioned. By enabling the viewers to follow the ideological perspective of the polar heroes – while also illustrating their ignorance – Neudecker highlights contemporary threats to the Arctic and questions its accessibility and ownership. In doing so, the artist examines the influence of cultural imaginations of “extreme” environments within historical and current geopolitical contexts. This article traces the visualisation of the Arctic and its sensual aesthetics, starting from the period of polar explorations to current climate change.



Veröffentlicht (Versionen)

Polarforscher, Nordpol, Diorama, Arktis, Klimawandel, Eis