Residualism Manifesto


*Creation from waste
without generating more waste∗

The remainder is interpreted as the “remainder”, the “leftover” result in an inexact arithmetic operation. Residualism takes advantage of this remainder and dignifies it as a point of support for a new aesthetic order.


This manifesto is written on May 1, 2020 in Spain.

In the framework of the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, in its consequent economic crisis and in the previously declared “climate emergency” resulting from an inappropriate industrial and consumption model, which has put our own survival and that of the rest at risk. of species on this planet. Especially in the most vulnerable areas.

The origin

The epiphany of this movement materializes from the “recollection” , not from the “confinement” , in a tense and painful situation in which some artists have come to consider our own work as waste and our artistic work as ordinary and expendable.

However, from a new renaissance , we proclaim that the residue as a concept is interdisciplinary, transversal and invasive in all facets of our lives, for which we propose the defense of a new ” ism “ in 21st century art: Residualism .

The root
  • We admire and respect the artists who preceded us and who resorted to the reuse of materials and supports for the creation of their works, recognizing that there is a connection with Dadaism and the movements that emerged from the sixties, the Arte Povera , the New Realism and its most recent expression in Trash and Upcycled Art with which we maintain some common points.
The Residual Commitment
  • Our motto is “to create and express from waste, without generating more waste” . Going beyond environmental awareness, helping to resolve inequalities with universality and equity. Moving away from a catastrophic and apocalyptic vision of our future but without minimizing the global challenge of a climate crisis , to which we are not being able to provide an immediate solution.
  • We reinvent ourselves as creators in substance and form, maintaining freedom and independence in artistic language. Although there is a clear intention to denounce, our works do not lose their artistic essence for the benefit of environmental activism.
  • We expose our misery without hiding it under the rug, dignifying a new citizenry committed to the proper use of resources.
  • Our raw material is the waste redesigned as a path towards a new expressive language . The waste subjected to controlled experimentation, the collection and selection process being an essential part of the work.
  • We adapt our work based on non-organic aseptic waste, and we reject the use of agricultural, medical and laboratory waste, radioactive waste and anything that puts health at risk .
  • We decontextualize the waste by exposing a different vision of it and exalting its aesthetic qualities , resulting in a work that is not part of the chain of a delirious consumption model integrated into the linear production of “use and throw away” .
Definition of residualist work
  • Residualist work is a spiritual and mystical creation, which does not follow the dictates of the official art market, in which the revalued residue is sublimated, which is not consciously eliminated, which is intrinsically loved, which is aesthetically appreciated after intense reflection and hard work.
  • We resist the creation of an ephemeral art and our works lack obsolescence, being created for their permanence in time. Our greatest commitment is not to generate more waste.


  • We claim beauty , harmony and balance as the ultimate goal of art.
  • We defend creative diversity and its expression in the Fine Arts against uniformity.
  • We identify ourselves as disruptive creators, but we do not aspire to social recognition as leaders of modern, innovative, daring, transgressive or disruptive art. We are rather the obligatory interpreters of nature overwhelmed by the excess of industrial waste and its high polluting power.
  • We believe that residual art is an effective and informative tool to promote the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDG ).

Residualism requires a radically different expressive language, which generates a great cultural, environmental, emotional and sociological change with greater individual and community responsibilities.
From resilience and hope, we consider Residualism as an ” interlude “, a pause that invites us to breathe and meditate on the threat of an imminent planetary collapse that could be solved collaboratively.
The residualist works will remain as the reflection of the human awakening towards a conscious, compassionate, understanding, honest, grateful and respectful way of life with nature.

For all the above, a call is made not only to artists but to society as a whole to freely subscribe and share this Residualist manifesto that dignifies creativity aimed at the preservation of our ecosystem.

Signatures and accessions

This manifesto is free , open , plural and alien to ideologies of any kind.

Signing or adhering to this manifesto does NOT commit anything or anyone. Does not limit creativity . We consider that the reduction of excess waste and the conservation of nature is a universal task that concerns us all and that is the only reason to support and disseminate this text with absolute freedom .

If you are interested in joining, contact me by email: marta[at] Thank you!

Marta Sanmamed, Spain

we used Google translated for this article
was used when creating this post

Marta Sanmamed. Madrilenian, plastic artist, writer and cartoonist.

I exhibit individually or collectively inside and outside of Spain and my work is part of museums and private collections.

For a decade I have been committed to Residualism “to create from waste without generating more waste” and within this movement are the vertical Giardinos , woven from reused plastic bags. 

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