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Art

Republic of small Things

Vanessa Kanz

Their existence lasts no longer than 24 hours and their only inhabitant is the artist himself.

Photos: Rubén Martin de Lucas

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Nauru, an island state in the Pacific Ocean with an area of 21 km² and 11,000 inhabitants, is officially the smallest republic in the world. Unofficially, however, a Spanish artist occasionally subverts the island state’s record by founding republics in random landscapes. They are never larger than 100 m², their existence lasts no longer than 24 hours and their only inhabitant is the artist himself.

The most important criterion for the existence of each respective “Minimal Republic” is the border artist Rubén Martín de Lucas artificially creates, which he does with geometric perfection. Sometimes he marks out a triangle on a piece of wasteland, sometimes he mows a square in a field of grain, and he’s even created a republic with a circle of stones at a beach on Spain’s northern coast. The exact location of the temporary beach republic was: 43.399488º, -4.358119º. In his projects, which he documents in the form of aerial photographs and videos, Rubén Martín de Lucas questions the artificial nature of each border and the apparent natural inclination humans have of dividing landscapes into territories by creating boundaries. The artist’s images convey a simplicity that makes the drawing of borders all the more ironic. There are no natural (political) borders, and that’s why they can be crossed, moved, or at least discussed. When looking at the circle that delimits the artist within his republic, the following question has to be asked: When there is something all around you, why don’t you go and find out about it?

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