Enrique Martinez Celaya: Schneebett
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Inspired by Beethoven's death bed, Schneebett is one of artist Enrique Martínez Celaya's most acclaimed works. So why was it mailed back to him in boxes?

Premiered during Art Basel Miami Beach 2011.

Enrique Martinez Celaya: Schneebett

In the summer of 2011, large crates began showing up at the Whale and Star complex we shared with acclaimed artist Enrique Martínez Celaya

The crates contained Schneebett, an installation Martínez Celaya had exhibited at the Berliner Philharmonie in 2004. Inspired by Beethoven’s final days, the work consists of a bronze, life-size sculpture, a painting, a chair, and tree branches. The sculpture is of a bed, and is connected to a cooling unit that produces a blanket of ice on its surface. (“Schneebett” is German for “snow bed.”) 

The work had been donated to the Miami Art Museum by German collector Dieter Rosenkranz and would be the museum’s featured exhibit during one of the biggest weeks on the international art calendar: Art Basel Miami Beach 2011. 

Before it could be shown, however, Schneebett had to be retrofitted with a new cooling system that could stand up to Miami’s hotter temps, not to mention the heat generated by the large crowds that would gather to view this important addition to MAM’s permanent collection. 

Realizing that we had a very small window of time — the retooling would be done over the course of a few short months — we grabbed our cameras and got to work on a documentary chronicling not only the mechanical upgrades, but the ideas that had inspired this significant commission in the career of Martínez Celaya.

The resulting short film, titled Enrique Martínez Celaya: Schneebett, premiered at an invitation-only event at Miami’s “Art Hotel,” The Sagamore, during Art Basel. 

Couldn’t make it that night? You can watch it here.