Art News

5 Artists Capturing the Abandoned and Decay

Discover the beauty of the absent and the allure of the abandoned in this captivating article by art expert Antoinette Genevieve.

By Antoinette Genevieve | 09 Jan 2017

The beauty of the abandoned and the intrigue of the decaying and discarded are imagined in captivating ways by a handful of visionary artists. Contemporary artists are capturing scenes of abandonment, loss and decay through photography, painting and sculpture, creating pieces that are both haunting and beautiful.

Antoinette Williams delves into the allure of the abandoned as she reveals 6 artworks that explore the beauty of absence, decay and disrepair.

Whether you find it ethereal or haunting, there is something alluring about the mystery that comes with deserted spaces and abandoned, ghostly places. Beautiful monuments to time and creativity are often left to mind themselves when their usefulness has run dry.

For artists these reflective spaces often become the subject of fascination and exploration. Perhaps it is a realisation that we too are temporary in our greatness, and one day our streams will become arid, leaving only the remnants of presence. It is an illusion of time that plays with our thoughts and inserts itself into long lost desires. It is the essence of all that is and will be, and the result is some truly poignant art.

Discover my favourite artworks that uncover the allure of the abandoned and bring these haunting spaces alive with emotive effect.


RapprochementGeoffrey Ansel Agrons


Shop Geoffrey Ansel Agrons' Works >>

A dreamy image that stirs the depths of imagination. Agrons’ photography belays the undercurrent of emotions that can be explored through unassuming landscapes.


Untitled (Necropolis I)Johnathan Alibone


Shop Jonathan Alibone's Works >>

A more fitting title could not have been selected. This image conjures thoughts of a distant departure to a far away land. Mysterious and foreboding this work is one of a series, aimed at presenting the viewer with both the anonymous and uncertain, they depict a land and its inhabitants at the furthest reaches of our own; a world that is recognisable, yet also strange and unknowable.


Green HotelGina Soden


Shop Gina Soden's Works >>

An abandoned hotel in Germany sets the stage for this powerful piece by Gina Soden. The room that has been completely overtaken by nature, it reflects how easily human extravagances can submit to nature once they fade into neglect.


Says Queen TriptychEtienne Clement

Left: Vita Brevis. Eat Cake! Says Queen, £2,400

Centre: Sans Culottes. Eat Cake! Says Queen, £2,400

Right: La Nuit de Varennes. Eat Cake! Says Queen, £2,400

Shop Etienne Clement's Works >>

In Eat Cake! Says Queen, three loosely interpreted key events of the French revolution are staged and presented, served almost to us viewers, on circular trays. In each piece, the concave backdrop pierced by a threshold contributes to the narration of the events, contextualizing it, emphasizing the inside/outside dichotomy, the safe versus the unsafe territories.


West Park 30#Tim Crooks


Shop Tim Crooks' Works >>

A haunting image, Crooks has managed to turn the former psychiatric hospital into an alluring space that begs to be re-claimed and re-imagined. This series invites the viewer to contemplate the metaphorical implications for both mental health and institutionalization in a broader sense.


See What's New on Rise Art >>


About the Author

Antoinette Williams is an independent art consultant, curator, and writer, Antoinette is an enthusiast of art of all media. Holding a BA in Art History and MA in Fine and Decorative Art, she has been a contributing writer for Or Does It Explode MagazineFresh Paint Magazine, and Artfetch, (now joined with Rise Art). She currently divides her time between San Diego and New York.

Follow her

Twitter: @awilliams87888 Instagram: @antoinette_8788

Related Artworks

Related Guides









More From