Blog 10   Covid19

What is ephemerality? Transience, lasting for a short time.

Synonyms are :

  • momentariness,
  • temporariness,
  • transience,
  • fleetingness,
  • fugitiveness,
  • impermanence,
  • impermanency,
  • evanescence

Andy writes in his blog called Ephemeral Objects:

‘I would propose that ephemerality is a condition, or perhaps characteristic, of liminal existence, that an essential “thing in itself” may persist over time, though its composition may change. Perhaps ephemerality implies fluctuations in perceptibility rather than a transition between existence and non-existence.’

(Ephemeral Objects is a blog exploring the idea of art criticism for the post-material world. It is written by Andy Horwitz: critic, curator and founder of Culturebot Arts & Media. It is made possible through the funding of the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program.)


‘……despite what the more sceptical among us might maintain, there really is beauty in contemporary art. The difficulty we have when thinking about this – and it is a perennial difficulty – is that we are forced to deal with two ostensibly conflicting realities: wherever we find it, beauty is recognisable as a transient, unfixable quality, and yet when we experience it we also want to insist that its significance, both to ourselves and to everyone else, persists long beyond that fleeting moment.’ (Guardian online Michael Archer Wed 18 Nov 2009)

I hope it is clear from the above notes that I have been researching ephemerality.  In art the present consensus seems to be that ephemeral art is sound or ice/sand sculpture, or Land Art like that of Amdy Goldsworthy, or sound as art or performance as art. However, Kentridge creates ephemerality by continuously altering or erasing an image and leaving traces.  I would argue that  the portrait of Baroness Susan Greenfield at the National Portrait Gallery London Uk  is a good example of ephemerality, yet is a permanent object.

One anagram of ephemerality is “airy meet-help” which could be a description of Hatchery – we met, helped each other via the air using technology.  I am grateful to Hatchery and Artcore Gallery for the opportunity to come to this level of understanding about my work, through the interaction with others, and the chance to reflect in preparation for the online discussions of our work.

For the second exhibition my first image is a small oil abstract developed from microscope work with a fluffy catkin. It is called On The Brink of Life Or Death. It uses familiar symbols of death,

and also shows the possibility of life via the green seeds. The work refers to epemerality but is not ephemeral in its substance.


However the second image, a photograph called Ephemerality is ephemeral in presentation, substance and concept.

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