A NEW FORM OF EPHEMERAL ART

The recent case of the Banksy’s painting that self-destructed after being auctioned at Sotheby's for 1.2 million euros brings to the floor the question of ephemeral art and the vocation with which some works are born. Indeed, it seems clear that this bombshell by the Bristol artist was one of his well-known stagings to reopen the debate on the art market and speculation in the sector. Few now believe that the scrupulous auction house had not subjected the piece to a careful analysis to detect that it had installed an electrical device operable remotely. Is this a mockery? Does this work lose its status as an art because it was conceived to make it disappear?

Banksy's artwork "Girl With Ballon" while being shredded after the auction at Sotheby's

The "ephemeral art" as a term makes its appearance in the history of art in recent times to settle in the heat of the performative and installation movements of the second half of the XXth century. To reach this point it was necessary to overcome some deeply rooted ideas of the Western canon about authorship, the durability of the works, personal transcendence, social recognition and the individual's will to leave an imprint, a legacy, artistic in this case, that extended beyond the work itself. In this scheme of thought, the fancy of creating pieces born to last only a short period lacked meaning. However, the concept of the ephemeral was present in the collective ideology, as the very resource of the tempus fugit that so many aesthetic narratives and discourses have nurtured, although the qualitative leap of discourse to the creation of fleeting works rarely occurred.

Ice sculptures by the Brasilian artist Néle Azevedo, installation, 2012

If these ideas channel into Western thought within the framework of philosophy, as a compendium of knowledge and wisdom, in the Eastern world it is a much more natural and widespread notion. With the focus on contemplation and the search for personal balance, the ephemeral manifestations, in the calligraphy of wet brushes on drying mud, in the sand gardens or water circuits, always changing, were momentary expressions that matched perfectly with the way of understanding life and with the "de-thing-making-ness" of manifestations. The important thing is not perpetuity, but the present moment of understanding.

Artwork on beach-sand by Andrés Amador

The ephemeral art seems to drink from both streams of thought and defines as an artistic creation of short duration in time. This way, the materialistic desire of the tangible thing is overcome to focus on the meaning of the message. With these works, in addition, other forms of expression are explored regardless of the established pattern, because that freedom of language does not fit within the preconceived or corseted formats. In the emergence of this movement, there is also a clear belligerent aspect, against the market system, against the imposed channels, against the old school, against the old painting, against the own boring art that does not criticise itself. Perhaps this was the covert motivation of this "show-staging" by Banksy.

 

In Art Madrid, we love art in all its aspects. Therefore, on the occasion of our 15th anniversary and thanks to Cooltourspain.com , visitors at Art Madrid’20 will have the possibility to enjoy a free guided tour of urban art to discover the street art hidden by Lavapiés, one of the most multicultural and colourful neighbourhoods of Madrid.

With the code ARTMADRID2020

and your ticket to the Art Madrid’20 fair, you can enjoy "Street art Tour Lavapiés" for free, on days 26th, 27th and 28th of February at 11:00 a.m. The capacity is limited, so do not doubt, book your place at Cooltourspain.com Once the confirmation is received, you just have to go with your open eyes to enjoy this magnificent experience.

Street art is the expression of art in public spaces either in the form of murals in restored buildings; graffiti; street painting or curated artistic actions. What are the backstories of each artist? What are the social issues affecting our city? This social, cultural and educational project was born in 2016 to answer these questions and show the message hidden by the works of art of so many national and international artists who have painted the Embajadores neighbourhood. It became the first daily street art tour in Madrid.

Cooltourspain will show you the Spanish capital in an alternative way and its guides will share their knowledge about the best street art in the Lavapiés and Malasaña areas. In the same way, its Foundation collaborates with non-profit projects and local associations so that people at risk of social exclusion can learn the techniques used by Madrid graffiti artists. The tour lasts two hours and begins at the Valle Inclán Theater Entrance.