From Artist Gone Underground to Occupational Realism. Remarks on Artistic Strategies Based on Invisibility

  • Łukasz Białkowski Faculty of Art, The Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland


The article discusses the problem of invisibility in the context of visual arts. An outline of six types of artistic activities in which invisibility or the artist’s disappearance plays a pivotal role is followed by a presentation of artistic practices called a strategy of mimicry. The latter consists in enacting by artists such jobs as a waitress, a cleaner or a sales representative and regarding these occupations as artistic activities. The tendencies are discussed based on Stephen Wright’s conception of ‘escapology’ and Julia Bryan Wilson’ ‘occupational realism’. The article raises questions concerning ethical repercussion of these activities and the fluid status of their identity, which, according to the author, paradoxically leads to evoking the Romantic figure of the artist.