Let’s talk about a particularly crazy and powerful genre in art, as shown below:
Please stop hitting the F5-key and stop screaming at your computer. The reason you cannot see an artwork is not because your computer is annoyingly slow (it might be, but that’s not our business). You cannot see it because it is invisible.
We hear you thinking, how can an artwork be invisible? How do I know if I like it? Can I buy it?
You might not be able to see it, but you can buy it and you can even like it on Facebook. The invisible, the unseen and the hidden have actually been a great inspiration to artists for years. French artist Yves Klein was the first to pioneer with invisible artworks in the late 1950s when he exhibited empty rooms with what he crafty called the concept of ‘architecture of air’. He definitely shocked the art world. Reactions must have been like: Jesus effing Christ, what the hell is going on here!
Artist Gianni Motti was inspired by the invisible in the late 80s when he produced his painting Magic Ink (1989), which although appears to be all blank, was in fact painted with invisible ink according to the artist. Sure dude, if you say so. Tom Friedman also exhibited a blank piece of paper, but in this case the artist did not even use supplies at all! His work 1000 hours of staring (1992-97) consists of a piece of paper at which the artist has stared at repeatedly over five years. The guy probably needs glasses now, but everything for the sake of art right?
Maurizio Cattelan, the king of satirical art, took the concept even further when he went to the police to report the theft of an invisible artwork. The artist must have laughed his ass off when, with some persuasion, a policeman eventually typed a legal report, which was later shown in a gallery (Untitled, 1991) as an actual artwork.
In music, there has also have been artists experimenting with the concept of the non-existing. John Cage composed his famous piece called 4’33’’ in 1952. The score instructed the performers not to play their instruments during the entire duration of the piece, creating..... umm well.... silence.
If you can appreciate these artworks... It gets even better with an invisible exhibition. An advertisement was placed in 1971 in the New York Times with the announcement of a one-woman show of Yoko Ono at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. On the openings day of the exhibition people gathered at the museum, confused because they couldn’t find the show. They had the right to be confused as it turned out there was no show at all. MoMA actually never agreed on exhibiting Ono’s work and the ad in the New York Times was simply sent in by Miss Ono herself. She had successfully been trolling the art world with a non-existing exhibition that she titled Museum of Modern (F)art. Well done Ono.
Whether as an artistic experiment or as a protest, these artists have been stretching the boundaries of conceptual art by creating non-existing artworks you cannot see, non-existing music you cannot hear and non-existing exhibitions you cannot visit. Invisible bloody art, genius! We might be even showing it in our store...but of course you will never know for sure!
We hope this article has inspired you. Here is some more invisible stuff:
Author: Rosanne Schipper