The ephemeral or the ephemera has been mentioned but not discussed during my meetings with my supervisors.  I decided to do some research about the ephemeral in art.  I had a feeling that maybe my supervisors and I did not have a common sense of what we meant by the term, and it soon became clear that our understandings were rather different.

The Tate describes ephemeral art as follows:

“Ephemeral art is art that only lasts for a short amount of time.”

So, it seems that ephemeral art is being used as a noun and describes something that is produced by an artist, often constructed with natural components, sometimes photographed, with no expectation of permanence.  As Andy Goldsworthy, in his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists 4th Ed. (2009), explains:

“each work grows, stays, decays—integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when it is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak which I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.”

 I have also been following up some references my supervisors had given me including NVA public art.  I had found the project entitled The Storr – Unfolding Landscape (NVA 2005) very interesting and assumed they had suggested I take a look for two reasons – one that the installation was on the Isle of Skye and second that it was an example of innovative presentation.  However, I now see that the transient nature of the installation is an example of ephemeral art.

 I think my supervisors were talking about imaging a constructed moment, or a moment that is known to be transient whereas I am focusing at the ontological level of reality, where the essence is permanent, but its emergence is transitory.  The emergence I am seeking, only reveals itself when we cease to focus on the object as an object in time and space.  When we discard the act of focusing and cease to engage in the experience of the phenomena of presence, we can become aware of the essence.  By releasing ourselves from the shackles of space and time we allow ourselves to glimpse the essence of the object.


References [accessed on 27 October 2020]. [accessed on 27 October 2020]. [accessed on 26 October 2020].

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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