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Is it Art?

Updated on April 28, 2014
Balancing Art
Balancing Art | Source

Art in All Its Different Forms

When one thinks about art, the old masters with their timeless art works immediately comes to mind. A piece of brilliance you can revisit time and time again. People go on art trips to Italy and France to visit the Louvre and the Vatican to experience great art.

I run into the National Art Gallery every time I go into central London to have another look at Van Gogh's sunflowers and Monet's lilies.

Sunflowers - Vincent van Gogh


Timeless Vs Moments of Art

Unless something extraordinary happen, I am quite sure the sunflowers will still be there when I visit central London next time. The artworks of the sidewalk painters on the South-bank side of London, however, will not be there next time. Moments of art, just like the ice sculptures and beach artworks all over the world. Moments of art. Today here, gone tomorrow.

It is amazing how much time these artists spend to create the most amazing pieces, knowing it will be swept away by the waves, walked upon by thousands of feet or just melt. It is clear that the process of creating something has far more to offer than what we might realise. The hours spending on creating it must be more fullfiling than the staying power of the work. Maybe it is rather a performance art than a visual art. The process should be viewed by an audience and not only the final product.

Moments of amazing art.

I recently discovered another art form. Gravity art. I don't know if that is the official name, but it sounds good.


Rock Balance Art

Michael Grab creates the most amazing balancing rock art, which is visual perfection deriving from a unique skill, patience and ultimately a passion for his very different art. A moment in time, very vulnerable to the slightest wind. One wrong move, a sudden wind or a lapse in concentration can easily destroy the entire artwork.

Michael's website has the very apt name Gravity Glue. He says the following on one of his blog posts, "Each balance is possible because there is a definite, but fine line between equilibrium and collapse." To me it looks impossible to place a large rock on top of a tiny one, but for him it is no problem.

The geometric shapes created seem to defy gravity, but it is gravity that ultimately keeps everything together.

I asked myself if this is not just a skill rather than an art. To answer that I had to look again at what defines art as an art.

What is Art?

There are many definitions for art.

The definition from the Oxford dictionary reads as follow: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

The principles and elements of art stipulates that the following should be present in an artwork:












Rhythm/ Movement

Pattern / Repetition


Michael Balancing Some Rocks

Is Rock Balancing an Art?

Comparing the visual images of rock balancing to the principles of art makes it quite obvious that they are all present. I see variations of color, the texture of the rocks extended to the canvas of sky and water, shape, form and definite patterns and repetition in line and color.

I see stories in his compilations and photos. That alone makes it art.

To give some longevity to his art form, Michael photographs his work, which is an artwork in itself. On his website Gravity Glue there are more videos in which his incredible patience is quite evident. It also allows a wider audience to appreciate his work, which is most probably many time a solitary affair.

I love watching his videos with the sound of water in the background, watching his incredible precision which creates a calmness and peacefulness.

He so clearly understands the energy of the rocks. It looks as if the rocks become and extension of himself.

It is a visual art, a performance art, a spiritual journey and a devotion. A representation of life. Only here for a moment. Fragile, but oh so beautiful.

A Little Bit of Magic

Is it Art?

Do you think this is art?

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    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Hi Joe, it is an incredible art form and so peaceful. It must be amazing to do it everyday. A bit like your walking ....

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      This is JENGA to the nth degree. I sense a lot of zen mastery in this art form. Feng shui would be an understatement.

      Thanks for sharing!



    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      I am always fascinated by the amount of effort they put in knowing very well it won't last. I've watched the sidewalk artists a few times and they are so talented. Maybe it is a reflection on life. Just here for a moment.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 5 years ago from USA

      Very interesting hub. Michael Grab's rock balancing sculptures remind me of some of Andy Goldsworthy's earth sculptures. I love the idea of using natural elements to create art that might only last as long as nature allows. Thanks for sharing.