The story behind ‘Something Out of Nothing’

November 1, 2012


In the heavily conceptual jungle of “The Ripple Effect,” the most purely beautiful art is made from garbage. Olivier Giron’s “Something out of Nothing” features a series of hanging, terrarium-like sculptures made from trash that the artist scavenged from illegal dump sites in Fairfax County. One features a pair of doll’s hands half-buried in the dirt in a position of supplication, along with an old shoe and a profusion of weeds.

Trained as a photographer, Giron uploads pictures of illegal dump sites to the environmentally activist Web site “The Ripple Effect” also includes video footage that the artist collected at the dump sites, using the kind of motion-activated surveillance cameras that hunters use. In the videos, Giron can be seen fabricating site-specific outdoor sculptures, using materials left behind by dumpers. In some, you also can see the reaction of the violators — which ranges from curiosity to confusion — when they stumble on Giron’s art.

According to Giron, his target audience isn’t museum visitors or environmentalists, but the people tossing the trash. Although he “signs” his work by leaving cards containing his contact information, Giron says he has yet to hear from anyone.

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