Melbourne street artist Phoenix has created a work ‘EPHEMERAL’ to coincide with Sweet Streets 2010. This work – which he has installed on the wall of the carpark opposite Thousand Pound Bend – is an exploration of the way street art evolves with the passage of time.
The top letters are sturdily built – made of plywood coated with PVA and paper; the bottom letters are made of unsealed corrugated cardboard – open along their top edges to the rain and sun. One part is designed to last; the other part is designed to degrade.
Phoenix installed this piece on the day before the Sweet Streets opening – with the hope that the piece might start to show signs of its inevitable self-destruction over the course of the Festival.
With the extraordinary weather we have been experiencing in this middle part of the Festival, his hope may just be fulfilled. A photo taken last Thursday night – before yesterday’s wild weather, and tomorrow’s even wilder forecast – showed the ‘MORE EPHEMERAL’ letters dampened and beginning to swell:
Because street art is so often impermanent and ephemeral, it is often suggested that that is how it should be – yet surely this is open to question. Many street artists feel a sense of satisfaction at their works lasting over time.
People attending Thousand Pound Bend for the various events in the second week of Sweet Street will have the opportunity to watch what happens to this piece over the days remaining in the Festival – and perhaps beyond. ‘EPHEMERAL’ may be at the effect of natural or human elements – whatever happens, it will continue to spell out something interesting about the ephemerality of street art.
We will update any significant changes to this piece on the Sweet Streets website.