Rushing past to a car MOT appointment a few weeks ago (a 300 mile round trip, because no-one in Kiruna was available to do it), we screeched to a halt at a layby to look at this.
I’d captured the moment that was about to disappear – reflections in water are beautiful partly because they never last.
In the gallery in Kiruna’s new town last week one of the items on display was a sculpture I recognised – a large curvy shiny piece, shaped like a cloud. There used to be a number of these on the ceiling of Kiruna’s swimming pool. It was hard to see anything if you were still, but if you moved underneath them your own gliding figure appeared, gently changing shape as you passed by, both you and not you, willowy and wispy.
Called ‘Clouds’ (by Erling Johansson), these sculptures were removed from the pool earlier in the year in preparation for being moved to Kiruna’s new pool. I was really glad to be able to see one up close in the exhibition, but I was dismayed to see it had been placed sideways on a vertical wall facing me. Standing opposite, my reflected figure was stumpy and squat, like a fairground hall of mirrors distortion. I wanted to lie down sideways and swim to make it look like it used to. This is a sculpture that needs to be experienced lying down underneath, moving, and in water. It didn’t really work in an exhibition..
I returned a few days later to take a photo but it was no longer on display. ‘Reindeer bottoms’, I thought. You can never get a good photo of reindeer – they turn and run and all you get are pictures of retreating bottoms. I wonder if I will have the experience of those wispy water reflections again. Like waiting for the northern lights, wondering is part of the experience.