The Secret Language of Ice 1 2014

Elizabeth Ogilvie (1946 – )


36 x 68 cm
Polymer photogravure print
Accession number


Elizabeth Ogilvie (born Aberdeen, 1946) is known for installations that combine film, architecture, science and sound in immersive environments. Her subject matter is water and, more recently, ice. The artist’s concerns, however, are both with the politics of climate change and with the sheer physical and emotional power of the element itself.

Ogilvie’s residency enabled her to film in Baffin Bay: between Baffin Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, and northwest Greenland. All of the ice floes from the Ilulissat Icefjord in northwest Greenland (on UNECO’s World Heritage list since 2004) pass through these waters on route via the Davis Straits to the north Atlantic. This unique phenomenon has been studied for over 250 years and has informed our understanding of icecap glaciology and climate change.

‘My goal was to work with ice itself and through my concerns about the urgency of safeguarding the ice environments in high latitudes and altitudes, I hoped to draw attention to ice processes and to reveal its psychological, physical and poetic dimensions… ‘The Secret Language of Ice’ involved screen-printing text on to ice and via time-lapse photography capturing the icemelt.’[i]

Below another sky was the first collaborative programme developed by the Scottish Print Network, a partnership between Dundee Contemporary Arts, Edinburgh Printmakers, Glasgow Print Studio, Highland Print Studio, Inverness and Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen.

10 artists from Scotland and 10 from Commonwealth countries were invited to undertake research residencies during 2013 and 2014. Artists from Scotland travelled to Antigua, Baffin Bay, Bangladesh, Canada, India, New Zealand and Zambia; artists from Australia, Canada, India and Pakistan were on residency in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Each artist worked with one of the five print studios on the development of ambitious and innovative new work in print, taking full advantage of the excellent range of resources, equipment and expertise available through each organisation.

Below another sky takes its name from the poem ‘Travel’, published in 1865 by the Edinburgh-born author Robert Louis Stevenson.



[i] Elizabeth Ogilvie