A lot of contemporary artists seem to swear by the “Everything is art” motto, and there’ll always be cynics who rush to point out what a load of horse manure that is. While they do have a point, it’s simply astounding how contemporary artistic manifestations have managed to pervade everyday life and come in as many shapes and sizes as needed to dazzle the most jaded imagination. A perfect example of this was the “Painting Reality” installation in Rosenthaler Platz.
Rosenthaler Platz is a U-Bhan or underground station located in Berlin, and the urban design of its surroundings makes it the perfect locale for a project of this nature. Furthermore, the place is considered one of the city’s “creative” areas, being the home of quite a few art galleries. The man behind the Painting Reality display (though naturally an entire team was necessary to pull it off) is called Iepe Rubingh and he’s a Dutch performance artist. Back when the stunt happened, around April last year, no one quite knew what to make of it and it was speculated it could either be part of a marketing campaign or rather the work of activists taking some sort of stance. Some months later Iepe uploaded an “official” video of the whole thing to his YouTube account, thus taking responsibility for it, and he labeled it simply as “street art”.
The video shows a number of bikers bearing big boxes loaded with paint of different colors. They position themselves in front of the lines of cars that are waiting for the green lights to change and when this happens, they pour the paint onto the street and quickly ride away. As expected, all the cars behind them drive over the paint and the crisscrossing traffic eventually creates, without meaning to, a colorful pattern on the asphalt. According to the video description, “500 litres of water-based, environmentally-friendly paint” were used and an approximate “2000 cars” were the unwitting brushes which spread it all around.
Even though this installation was a lot more fleeting than most and only disrupted normalcy for a very limited amount of time, it caused plenty of negative reactions concerning safety and legality. The deed was in fact against the law and one might take the side of some of the drivers who must’ve been undoubtedly annoyed at having their wheels and perhaps the side of their cars temporarily coated by paint, not to mention how distracting the entire event was. Still, taking into consideration that no accidents actually occurred and the paint was water-based and therefore easily removable anyway, all that remains is an interesting, lively change of pace in the daily rhythm of the Berliner intersection. Whether it can be defined as art or not, you decide.
If you’re an urban art fiend and on top of that a nerd (you must be if you’re on Walyou), you should also take a look at 23 Amazing Pieces Video Game Graffiti Street Art and Delete Key Keyboard Street Art.