It seems that artistic establishments are not really recognising new talent at the minute. That’s what one student at the Wroclaw Fine Art Academy in Poland had to say last month. It has been revealed that Andrzej Sobiepan snuck his painting of an acacia leaf into the National Museum in Wroclaw and hung it on a wall for over three days without it even being noticed. Mariusz Hermansdorfer, director of the gallery, explained that it highlighted the lengths to which new artists will go, in order to reach some kind of fame. “It has shown that the young generation of artists, unlike their predecessors, want to see their work in museums,” he elaborated.
Where did this bizarre move come from? Sobiepan explained that this stunt was inspired by previous attempts from artists like Banksy; who famously dressed up as a pensioner and tacked his work inside prestigious galleries across New York in 2005, just because he could. Banksy told papers, that it had “less to do with finally being embraced by the fine art establishment” and was more to do with the fact (and fascination) that he could get away with it in the first place. He explained it was more a matter of “a fake beard and some high strength glue,” and implied that galleries and museums were too reluctant to welcome in new art, instead preferring well established pieces by comparatively world renowned artists.
Admittedly, it’s a bad sign that artists like Sobiepan feel the only way to get recognition is through being an imposter and sneaking work into galleries, but it’s also strangely encouraging. It emphasises the fact that there is a desire to create and share art with members of the public, regardless of status (and even, to a certain extent, ability; it was, after all, a simplistic interpretation of a green leaf). Sobiepan said that he couldn’t bear “waiting 30 or 40 years” to have his work up in galleries. Is this such a crazy thing to say? Perhaps, in the future, art establishments really should be more willing to take on emerging talent and display the new, or even the weird and wonderful, alongside the highly esteemed traditional works of the past. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there should be more Tate Moderns springing up out of the ground, but it’s not to say there shouldn’t be more innovative approaches to recognising new talent either.
Either way, the question remains; what happens now? Unfortunately, Sobiepan’s leaf painting won’t have such future luck in the gallery. Now hanging in its cafe and due to be auctioned off this weekend, it will not be up for much longer. But however much it fetches, Sobiepan’s work has at least got its own view over a cafe, its own space on YouTube and extensive coverage from major news corporations. Oh, and the museum is now synonymous with Google search results for “Sobiepan.” It can’t all be bad. I wonder what will happen next. New disguise, perhaps?