Bordalo II: The Trash Animal

Union Row has many 2018 NuArt festival paintings. The NuArt project is a very good initiative to bring ordinary people closer to art. It is also a very imaginative way to bring colour to such a grey city. NuArt has been embraced by the public in Aberdeen and surprisingly, mostly everyone engaged with the paintings or artists. Moreover, street art has gained a lot of audience in the recent years. Even so, graffiti messages were popular in the Roman Empire. However, in Aberdeen, it is much more than just a painting or message in the wall of some building.

In my opinion, the most remarkable 2018 Nuart project in Aberdeen, is the colourful trash unicorn by Bordallo II. The artist is from Lisbon and his work remind me of the graffitis around big Portuguese cities such as Porto, Lisbon or Faro. He is paradoxically using materials that are destroying the natural environment of animals to depict them. I consider it a very interesting message. Through the pieces of plastic rubbish, he impacts the viewer in a stronger way than it would if it was just a painting.

I believe that the sculpture belongs to the conceptual art movement. For the reason that, in conceptual art, the concept becomes more important than the artwork itself. As Sol Lewitt said, in order to make a piece of conceptual art, there is this need of planning before the actual artwork is started. And the execution is not as important. “The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.” In this case, the idea that he represents with all the trash, the erosion of the natural environment of the living creatures, can change the way of thinking of many. Although, the beauty of Bordallo’s piece is undeniable, what he makes me feel and think is much more important. For example, I wondered what would happen to the environment if art was from now on made by recycled products. Or why there are such a small number of known artists trying to channel the attention from themselves to bigger problems.

Finally, it is very critical to highlight the fact that the unicorn is the national Scottish animal. Also, it is meant to live in pure forests and only pure souls are able to see them. This contrasts with the materials. The human being would have killed the unicorn if it existed, as we are killing many other animals just by pollution. This was the idea that made me write about this exact piece. This is the way I see it. Yet, the beauty of art lays in its lack of objectivity.


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