Aussie Brick Wall Cements Place In Art History

For most people, seeing a tradie building a brick wall would look more like a day job than an artistic masterpiece – but not in one tiny NSW community.

It was on a 38-degree day when artist, Steven Cavanagh, built a brick wall across a pathway in Kandos.

The artistic qualities of said wall soon came into question but Cavanagh was quick to respond.

“It is art,” the National Arts School lecturer told 10 daily.

“This is an installation and performative work, commenting on the political rhetoric of freedom of movement and a direct response to Donald Trump’s many followers screaming ‘build that wall’.”

Constructed across a walkway to further the point, the wall was part of Cementa – a contemporary arts festival held annually in Kandos.

Kandos is famously known as the ‘town that built Sydney’ because its local cement works was used in the city’s construction – including of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“It was where they created and made cement, so I wanted to include that in my art,” Mr Cavanagh said.

“I took on the role of a brick layer, which is fancy dress for me, physically mixed the cement by hand and laid the bricks one by one.”

The wall remained as a sculpture for four days before being demolished in another performative piece, and finally documented as a video.

Cavanagh joins a long line of artists who have had the artistic value of their work questioned.

Here’s some of the memorable pieces:

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin. Photo: Wolfgang Volz
Casting Off My Womb by Casey Jenkins. She knitted this from her vagina. Photo: Dan Weill
Hermann Nitsch famous for his work including Orgies Mysteries Theater. Photo:
Staring into the eyes of Marina Abramović in her piece, The Artist Is Present. Photo: Andrew Russeth.