Out of Sight: Urban Art Abandoned Spaces
Not all art craves attention, some of it hides in the secret places. Some of it is buried treasure, out in the urban wilderness, left scattered in empty rooms of derelict buildings like strange markings left by an unknown tribe. These works are gifts given only to the occasional explorer, found in abandoned factories, warehouses, industrial sites and deconsecrated churches. This is art you have to earn by leaving the designated areas and heading out past the No Entry signs of the urban environment. A diverse range of artists find themselves attracted to these twilight zones and in recent years something of a movement has come to light, huddled around the idea of urban decay and abandonment as the ultimate canvas. This burning curiosity to see what is behind the fence exists to a greater or lesser degree in most people, but for some it is irresistible. Urban ruins are like the woods in the old fairy tales, they are the place where the ordered reality of modern city life gives way to the irrational, the ambient and the surreal. If the estate is the village, then the industrial wasteland is the woods into which the babes go laying crumbs behind them to find their way back. The intervention of street art in these places ranges from walled spaces saturated with layer upon layer of tagging to strange little installations intended to mess with your head. Surreal comments scrawled on windows can be found alongside hidden characters, placed to surprise you as you turn a corner. Is there some universal human urge to say ‘I was here’? So next time you think about placement, why not look a little off the beaten track? Visibility is good for certain projects but the delightful, terrible intimacy available to you in the urban woods is just begging to be explored. Just remember to take some breadcrumbs with you to help find your way home.