Art is how we adorn space. When we make art ephemeral, temporary, fleeting, do we then adorn time as well?
French street artist L’Atlas perhaps had something of the sort in mind this October, when he meticulously built and dismantled his twelve-hour installation, New York: Air in Nelson A. Rockefeller Park.
Air, the first of four very brief installations L’Atlas intends to scatter across the globe, consisted of more than 3,000 spherical white balloons on black sticks, carefully arranged into a classic labyrinth on the grassy lawn of the park. The artist described the work as “pure graffiti,” if more fleeting and on a much larger scale than the word usually implies.
Inspired by his current label work for Perrier water, the series of installations is collectively called Extraordiniare. He set Air in New York City because of the energy of the city, its architecture and scale. Still to come are Earth, Fire, and Water, set in Mexico City, Seoul, and Paris, respectively. He chose cities with global influence both in and out, and which element is set where, he says, was purely intuitive.
Despite Air only lasting twelve hours on the grounds of Rockefeller Park, L’Atlas does not see his work as temporary in any way. This is the age of photos and videos, and the final product, he says, is really the images of the installation, which will be everlasting.