Skip to main content

Fire Sculpture (Nina Hole)

Nina Hole

"The element of risk in the creative approach that she uses is an important aspect of her work. She uses a number of assistants and considers the process, including the stimulating communal experience of working with a group of people, as important as the final product. Fired through the night, the spectacular effect of the glowing form as it is unwrapped is the peak moment of the event."

Danish artist Nina Hole is best known for her Fire Sculptures, monumental ceramic structures built and fired on location. Inspired by the architecture of houses as sculptural forms, the pieces are constructed from clay slabs which function as modular building blocks. According to Nina, the resulting house-like forms serve as metaphors for one's own body; she has described them as “ego houses.” The process of creating each sculpture is laborious and relies on the help of a team of assistants. After multiple weeks of building, the sculptures are fired during a multi-day burn. At sunset on the last day of the burn, the piece is unwrapped to reveal the finished, still-glowing form. Nina Hole's fire sculptures are as much about the performative and communal experience of creating the piece as they are the final product. 

Nina Hole's first Fire Sculpture was constructed in 1994. She has created Fire Sculptures in Germany, Japan, Turkey, Brazil, Wales, Mexico, Hungary, Denmark, Greece, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, and the United States. The sculpture at Purdue is the last of Nina's designs. Nina Hole passed away in February 2016, two months before the scheduled completion of the Purdue commission.

Purdue's Fire Sculpture

The last of Nina's Fire Sculptures, Purdue's commission serves as a celebration of Nina Hole's life and legacy. With the help of Purdue student volunteers, Nina Hole's assistants, Craig Hartenberger and Renata Cassiano, will build this sculpture outside of Pao Hall on March 22 - April 13th. Once built, the piece will be wrapped in high temperature refractory fabric and fired on-site Join us for the unveiling event on Saturday, April 16th, at sunset (approximately 9:30 pm).