What is Ephemeral Art?

Ephemeral art is an aesthetic expression of temporary duration. The ephemeral concept comes from the Greek ἐφήμερος (ephḗmeros), which means “one day”.

One of the objectives of this type of works of art is in the verification of the transience of life and mortality.

Ephemeral art uses fugacity as an artistic object, expressing the emotions that naturally arise when we see or feel something beautiful or aesthetically pleasing to disappear forever, leaving only a memory.

The conflict between objective reality and the memory of something that no longer exists is what determines whether an art is ephemeral or not.

In English it is translated as ephemeral art.

Features of ephemeral art

Ephemeral art is characterized by its transience. In 1916, when the ideas of Dadaism and performance are mixed , what is called “ephemeral action” or “art of action” emerges, which consisted of performances, installations and sporadic interventions for two purposes:

  1. That the surprise makes the public value the ideas, and
  2. That art vanishes so that it does not become a commodity.

As a contemporary example of ephemeral art, we have the exhibition of the Spanish painter Miquel Barceló. In this exhibition, Barceló creates a painting in real time for 10 minutes with inks that disappear when the water evaporates. Miquel Barceló defined this experience ” observe the disappearance “, which fits the definition of what ephemeral art is.

Examples of ephemeral art

Ice sculptures

Expressions of ephemeral art can be found in sculptures with materials that will not last in their form, such as sand and ice sculptures.

Foam coffee

Ephemeral art can also be created in food such as, for example, art with coffee foam or ephemeral art made in fruits.

Performing Arts

Framed within conceptual art, ephemeral art is associated with action art expressed through performance, installations, happenings and interventions of space. In this sense, urban art is also considered an ephemeral art because it was not created to last.