For art’s sake: British stone artist creates unique, impermanent, unsalable art

British artist crates impermanent stone art hidden across Chiang Mai’s forests

By | Fri 11 Dec 2020

British artist Justin Bateman, whose works have been featured on ITV, BBC radio and the front page of Reddit Arts amongst other international news outlets, has spent his pandemic year here in Chiang Mai creating art.
What is unique about his art is that it is, as life, impermanent. Bateman’s art is unsalable. It is unannounced and it is created with impermanence in mind, the diametric opposite of most artists’ desire for the immortality, or at least longevity, of their artworks.

For the past eight months the lucky few have stumbled across Bateman’s unsigned pieces of stone art along various forest trails and other unexpected places around the city.

“I have been exploring land art for many years, inspired by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and the spiritual practices of Tibetan Monks,” Bateman told Citylife. “The monks will spend many hours creating sand mandalas, only to blow them away once complete. Impermanence is an important feature of my work; how long does an artwork need to exist in order for it to have value? Rejecting the materials of ‘high art’ such as bronze and oils (the stuff of ‘Renaissance Gods’) and returning to a simplicity more akin to our cave-dwelling ancestors. You might say pebbles are my pixels…”

Each painstaking piece of art takes anywhere between a day to weeks to create. Some are designed and crafted in his studio to be assembled on site, while others are created in situ.

“In a world with a relentless appetite for more, I prefer to use less; the record of my work is only a digital footprint as I leave no physical trace of my presence in the environment. My work explores themes of people, place and time, order and chaos…’The entropy of life’,” added Bateman.

Each piece varies in size from one square metre to five, though Bateman says he plans to create far larger pieces in the future.

All stones and pebbles used are found and collected by Bateman who then puts them together into images he creates from his inspiration which comes to him through meditation.
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