While  Frieze art fair, this week, is handling all that money. Here is an artist for whom money is not his goal. Ben Wilson is transforming discarded chewing gums on footpaths  into pieces of art for 14 years. During all these years,  whether raining  or snowing he has been laying down on the bare ground  painting on chewing gum that people had deemed waste.  I was always wondering who had made hundreds of miniature paintings that have spread out  on Millennium bridge. One day, during  one of Parisien diners with arty people I solved the riddle. One of the guests was fond of Ben’s art so he published his art book. I immediately recognized the colorful crushed gums. At the beginning of his very original project , his works had’t attracted anyone, however, over the years he honed his idea . Finally his tenacity and conviction have captivated some important media such  as Channel 4, the Guardian and Times magazine. They were right to pay attention to him . Because I think that his achievement has to be applauded. His act is the result of his peerless insight into the environment and humain behavior.   If he had been making a show in a gallery , he would have earned money. However he wanted to show his works in other ways. Thus, he started to exhibit on the street .  Then immediately the police chased him away. If he had painted on the  pavement, the police would have annoyed him again.  Still there was a loophole in public space. The abandoned  chewing gum are neither pavement nor public property. However they are seen in almost all public spaces . Then, Ben started to focus on this medium . These small spitted  out things are once in contact with a very intime part of humain body in same time  very visible dirt that stays for a  longtime on the pavement. People take it  for granted. He tries to give them a second life in adding some poetic messages or in painting the supposed scenery of its owner’s home land. All his tiny paintings may tenderly awake our thoughts on the environnement  as well as our contradictory life style. We are confortable  making ourselves seem civilized but  these stuck chewing gums let us down.  We are betrayed by them. Although Ben’s message is clear and his act in my sense is highly respectable. How many people who cross Millennium bridge cast a glance at them.? Therefore almost all the people on this bridge is going to see “the Art” . Yet art is not only happening in a prestigious museum . Art is already found under our shoes. This bridge   is the strategic quarter for Ben’s work. It may also be his joke to organise small tours on the bridge during this weekend of Frieze art fair. He, has taken a distance from art as marchandise. His art is ephemeral. The only money that he could earn is selling his art books for 5 pounds. It is worth reflecting  about art and money. 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studiomoe/ben-wilson-the-chewing-gum-man-the-millennium-bridge-gum