Is the desire for invisibility and absence in the visual arts an expression of “Zeitgeist”?

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This paper aims to enhance the understanding of current tendencies and strategies of disappearance within visual arts. It is the outcome of my works, strategies and observations about the power of the invisible. Permanent visibility and surveillance are the unrequested effects of the attention society and attention economy but artist react with strategies of disappearance and concepts for invisible art.I have participated in hundreds of competitions and installed internationally more than 25 public sculptures, among them monumental stainless steel sculptures such as “Mirage” for Busan and “Connected One” the flagship sculpture for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. My most satisfactory works are literarily and sometimes deliberately invisible.My project Shadows of the past, investigates the impact of missing, absent or removed monuments and their presence in collective memory. The concept is to reconstruct the shadow of a removed or destroyed monument, oftentimes removed because of a change in political powers.The Invisible Monument There is only a description plaque in Bloomington, USA. I tested impact and believability of information in public realm within this artistic strategy.EntanglementI presented a series of images and prints, closed in dark boxes/suitcases. Once the images are exposed to light they disappear. They are portraits, secret portraits, people of public interest. The installation refers to the " Schroedinger`s Cat" thought experiment.Emptiness and absence A solid piece of sculpture occupies space. I made the opposite; I shaped the empty space and highlighted absence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
EditorsDr Anna Lebensztejn PhD, Dr Krzysztof Siatka PhD, Gromek Karol
PublisherPedagogical University of Kraków
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)n/a
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Mar 2018
EventHide-and-seek: Absence, invisibility, and contemporary art practices - Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, pl. Szczepański 3a, Kraków
Duration: 12 Mar 2018 → …


ConferenceHide-and-seek: Absence, invisibility, and contemporary art practices
Period12/03/18 → …


  • Ralf sander artist
  • konferencja-hide-and-seek-bunkier-sztuki-krakow
  • visual arts
  • Zeitgeist
  • shadows of the past
  • Schroedinger`s Cat
  • void
  • emptiness
  • entanglement


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    Sander, R., 29 Jun 2014

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