Snowman makes Brisbane its home


Defined by warm weather for most of the year, sun seekers flock to Brisbane to enjoy the Queensland capital’s subtropical climate, perfect weather to enjoy the great outdoors. Therefore, you wouldn’t expect to see a snowman on your travels or would you?

When you visit, come face to frosty face with our surprising out-of-season snowman, this human-like form has long captured the public’s imagination. Far from its European ancestry, it’s new home is now the Queensland Art Gallery’s Sculpture Courtyard. 

The life-sized snowman by leading contemporary artists and collaborators Peter Fischli and David Weiss might be an unexpected sight in Brisbane, however we anticipate the sculpture will become a much-loved citizen and visitor favourite. One of only four sculptures ever created, it places Brisbane in an exclusive club with the likes of MoMA, New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In 1987, the Swiss artists conceived of an artificial snowman that would remain frozen all year round. The sculpture was originally designed to stand outside the Römerbrücke thermal power station in Saarbrücken, Germany. Paradoxically, the power (and heat) produced by the factory would keep the snowman perpetually frozen.

Peter Fischli & David Weiss ‘Snowman’ 1987/2017-19

Peter Fischli, Artist, Switzerland b.1952 / David Weiss, Artist, Switzerland 1946-2012 / Snowman 1987/2017-19 / Ice sculpture in refrigerated vitrine / Vitrine: 218 x 209 x 140cm; snowman: 130 x 70cm (diam.) / Purchased 2019 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Peter Fischli and Estate of David Weiss/Courtesy: Spruth Magers, Berlin

Reminiscent of another snowman from Arendelle who lives in a magical eternal winter, Fischli and Weiss did just that, transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary with our Snowman not having to worry about a world without cold, snug in its purpose-built freezer. It is said that hot and cold are both so intense, but by putting them together it just makes sense, so join our Snowman chilling outside enjoying the sunshine next to the QAG Cafe — a perfect opportunity for a selfie.

You will notice the expression will shift over time as the smile and eyes are re-traced by hand every few days, this regular act of support binds the snowman to us as we care for it far from its snowy origins.