Not your typical mural festival, Circular asks you to recycle your art materials to create your new piece.
Occurring on the outer rim of Madrid, this collection of thinkers and conceptualists challenge almost every concept of the sad digression called the “mural festival” today – with the sincere focus of bringing the practice back to the community and creating work in the context of it.
Artist Elbi Elem tells us that she and Sue975, Aida Gómez, Octavi Serra, Clemens Behr, Brad Downey and Marina Fernandez were living and working in this barrio in the southern part of Madrid for two weeks. Rather than “parachuting” in and immediately putting up a mural that has nothing to do with the city, she tells us that it was important to spend a week to get to know the barrio and the people.
“Then we chose a location and got the materials,” she says of the recycled items with which she built this sculpture. “It is metal and mostly tubes and plastics that were found in abandoned places and waste from some factory of the industrial area that we were in – like plastics that had been used for signs or skylights.”
Officially running from October 1-20, Circular says that the entire concept is meant to reconsider the role of urban art in a city and to return its scope and proportions away from the enormous expanses we have been seeing on the sides of skyscrapers to something that is more, well, human scale. In addition to supporting themes such as sustainability and scale, organizers say they’re less interested in being a tool for gentrification or revitalizing areas for tourism, and more interested in bringing art to neighbors.
“By taking the festival to this area of southern Madrid, we contribute to the decentralization of culture in the city, to the democratization of art and to bringing it closer to all types of audiences,” they say in a description of goals.
For Elem’s sculpture, which she calls a “floating art installation”, she welded the metal and tried to use colors that are natural to this human-made environment.
“At the same time the colors I used were also the same as the surroundings, being integrated with the landscape,” she says.
“I decided to work under this long-roofed area at the entrance of the main market. I liked the environment and the background and it was easy to hang the piece. I loved that place because you could see a lot of movement of people going to shop and it was interesting seeing their reactions,” she adds, “mostly of surprise.”
“Festival Circular” in San Cristobal de los Angeles, Madrid, is curated by Madrid Street Art Project.