In the 8th century, climbing something meant scrambling up it with your hands and feet. There were no climbing harnesses, and the first climbing carabiner was a thousand years away. It is important to keep these facts in mind when thinking about the Madara Rider, a stone relief in Bulgaria from around 710 CE.
The Madara Rider is a stone carving, not unlike many found around the world on the sides of cliffs or inside of caves. The Rider depicts a horse-backed warrior victorious over a lion, celebrating his kill with an eagle, and a dog at the horse’s hooves. In itself, the Rider is not a spectacular artistic effort.
However, the Rider was created 1,300 years ago, seventy five feet off of the ground on a nearly vertical rock cliff, which reaches more than two hundred and fifty feet above the relief. Inscriptions on the rock around the work mark events between 700-800 CE, and show a period of Bulgarian history before their conversion to Christianity. In a sense, this adds to the mystery of the relief, as it was a sacred pagan site prior to conversion.
Aside from its date and the inscriptions in the area, little else is known of the Madara Rider, making the means of its creation all the more mysterious.
The Rider has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status based on the wonder of its creation. Along with global recognition, it gives a great deal of pleasure to Bulgarians. The Rider was minted on a number of Bulgarian coins around the year 2,000 and it has become a symbol of national pride.
Via: The Fire Wire
Rumor has it that the mysterious street artist Banksy is in Los Angeles as his new film, Exit Through the Gift Shop was released there this week. The artist is celebrating by making some mysterious street art in the City of Angels.
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into the world of high-level and socially conscious graffiti artists. There is no directorial credit on the film, but many believe that it was made by Banksy, a British graffiti artist who is internationally famous but has never been seen publicly, his real name unknown.
The film starts out as a documentary about internationally renowned graffiti artists, including Shepard Fairey in the United States (his Barack Obama portrait became an iconic image of the president’s campaign), Invader in France, and Banksy, whose illegal art has turned heads from the Palestinian segregation wall on the Left Bank to Disneyland. The footage was apparently gathered by a Los Angeles-based French videographer (and cousin of Invader) named Thierry Guetta, who spent a decade documenting the street-artist movement.
But then the documentary changes. Banksy encourages Guetta to become an artist himself, and so he does – becoming a monstrous creation known as Mr. Brainwash, introduced by a big-budget, splashy L.A. exhibition on a scale that would take most artists years to achieve.
And yet, many believe that Mr. Brainwash is himself an invention and that Guetta is really Banksy. If so, the joke’s on us. You can watch a 5 minute preview of the film below and the movie is opening in select cities (including LA) HERE.
Coming Spring 2010
Beautiful Losers celebrates the spirit behind one of the most influential cultural movements of a generation. In the early 1990’s a loose-knit group of likeminded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery. Rooted in the DIY (do-it-yourself) subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip hop & graffiti, they made art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Developing their craft with almost no influence from the “establishment” art world, this group, and the subcultures they sprang from, have now become a movement that has been transforming pop culture. Starring a selection of artists who are considered leaders within this culture, Beautiful Losers focuses on the telling of personal stories…speaking to themes of what happens when the outside becomes “in” as it explores the creative ethos connecting these artists and today’s youth.
(image via: Banksy.co.uk)
A couple of years ago I stumbled onto this street artist named Banksy and was blown away by the creative nature of his work. I’ve never seen the work in public but would definetly love to. His mixture of motif and medium, imagery, subject matter, positioning / location and clever writing is a brilliant mix that he uses to address many of today’s key world and political issues. Many say his artwork is vandalism at the very basic level but how can something that forces us to think differntly about a situation or an event be so wrong. His artwork is both inspiring and thought provoking. Many of those willing to throw the first rocks at his art would also be first in line to profit from him or his talents if they were able to.
Well our friends over at WebUrbanist are in the process of doing an 8 part expo featuring Banksy and his work and it’s a top notch read. So I’ll update the links and leave the writing and creative talents to WebUrbanist and Banksy.
“The Human Race is an unfair and stupid competition. A lot of runners don’t even get decent sneakers or clean drinking water. Some people are born with a massive head start, every possible help along the way and still referees seem to be on their side. I’s not surprising some people have given up competing altogether and gone to sit in the grandstands, eat junk food and shout abuse. What we need in this race is a lot more streakers.”
via Cut It Out by Banksy
Happy spraying Banksy!
Banksy Photos, Prints and Tattoos: Part Three in an Eight-Part Banksy Art Series
The Art of Banksy: Pieces Sold and For Sale: Part Four in an Eight-Part Banksy Series
The Art of Being Banksy: Interviews, Films and Videos Featuring the Elusive Street Artist: Part Five in an Eight-Part Banksy Series