Art In The Eye Of The Beholder

I am in Spain, in a small town with medieval walls, a sense of history and an enthusiasm for art and culture. There is a different approach to conserving heritage here; in England crumbling ruins are preserved carefully as ruins and prevented if possible from crumbling any further, whereas here, the battlements and towers of the defensive walls have been slowly and lovingly restored and in places they have even become the backdrop for installations of contemporary art.

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In the evening the light is a warm glow, the sinking sun casts long shadows and creates beauty in light and shade in great, bold strokes. It’s a quiet time, an ideal time for enjoying abstract shapes of colour, texture and light.

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There are other parts of town where history is not conserved so much as still being written, layers of time embedded in doors, walls and windows. Here there are surfaces showing their age and telling their stories, the ancient and the old patched up and in a continuity of use, a work in progress.

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There are pieces of street furniture here too that challenge the definition of what art is. I am ambivalent about some of the sculpture but I know what I felt about this metal garbage bin when I found it. Rusted and entirely uncared for it has become something altogether beautiful, and also something that is entirely ignored. Except that now it has a place here, definitely top of my list of things that astonished me this week, and something I will visit again with pleasure, like a friend.

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