Record: 3,444.91 m (11,302 ft 2.11 in) long
Holder: Gurmej Singh, aka Artist Singh
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
That's not all:Painting is certainly a nice hobby to take up while trapped indoors for winter. Artist Singh, though, operates on a level way above hobby. It took him 38 days to complete the uninterrupted painting, which was displayed in serpentine fashion along the town's 2.2-mile 6th Street Park river bank. The painting features various still life and is named "The Transcendental."
Cause: This attempt is to raise awareness about Liberty for Women, well-being of women, and role of women in our society.
To transcend is to go to a higher level, to go above and beyond the ordinary. Transcendental knowledge is much higher than the knowledge of our mundane existence. I have named my painting “the transcendental” because this work is transcending me to another level of discipline—making the world’s longest painting in 38 days and working for 20 hours a day to do something that has never been done before. This also reminds me of my surreal experience of being buried alive for three days.
Whether transcendental knowledge really exists is debatable just like many other abstract concepts. However, making this painting requires such discipline and self-control that for me it is beyond the ordinary, it is mystical, spiritual, elevating and transcendental.
Why did the world's longest painting become controversial?
Having moved ahead from the ArtPrize fiasco last year, this year I was determined to compete in the ArtPrize. Last years media accused me for marketing my art via gimmicks so this year I wanted to stay away from such a negative attention. There would be no 'controversy', no 'nudity' no 'attention seeking'. My painting would portray just pears, flowers or simply call it still life.
The idea was to display the painting in Artprize-- worlds largest art contest. I thought all I have to do is just break the record. However, as creative forces overpowered my head, my plan for the ArtPrize changed tremendously to make "the" longest painting. Not just long but longest in the entire world and finish the race in the least amount of days. Why not do something beyond the ordinary? I decided to name my painting 'The Transcendental'. Making the world's longest painting in a few days would transcend me beyond my mundane existence. It would be an artistic pleasure hard to express in words.
The first challenge of course was to raise the money and/or find the sponsors. I had three weeks to do it all. What would be the cost to do it? $100,000.00
To my best surprise all the energies and forces out there in the world joined me and everything came together. I was ready to roll!!!
When I embarked this life-changing journey, I knew it won't be easy. My goal was to complete the painting before the beginning of the ArtPrize on 18th September.
I had to meet stringent Guinness standards to succeed, one of which was that the painting had to be displayed publically for the Guinness officials to see and measure.
A project of this nature, needed support, and cooperation of the authorities. I got in touch with the ArtPrize curator Clare Fox to let them know of my ambitious plans. I was given a go ahead for this on the fly.
I started painting for 20 hours every day so that I could create painting before the ArtPrize began. However, at one point, I was told by the curator that I couldn't do it. They changed statements often which distracted me but I refused to be bogged down.
When I asked them why they could not make up their mind about displaying my painting for the ArtPrize, they told me that projecting it as the world's longest painting was just a marketing gimmick. I replied, 'then ArtPrize is a marketing gimmick too'.
Finally ArtPrize gave me (35 feet X 1 foot) of the space to display the world's longest painting and a large sculpture of a pear. I knew it wasn't enough. I went ahead spending days painting, which was growing each passing day to surpass the existing Guinness world record for the longest painting. There was no looking back for me now.
I tried my best to get cooperation of the local authorities for this project. However, it was not easy. The Grand Rapids police wanted money to be part of it. I was willing to pay money for my project. However, the police refused to cooperate when they realized that ArtPrize did not want me to display the world's longest painting.
Kevin Bust (Exhibition Director) threatened to ban me from the ArtPrize and the curator Clare Fox stopped me with all her power. What had already started could not be stopped now. The painting kept growing longer with each passing day. The length of the painting had not just broken the world record but surpassed it by hundreds of meters.
The authorities refused to cooperate and nothing was working in my favor. However the world's longest painting was now ready. After exhausting every possible option of reconciliation with the authorities, I was left with two options: Loose the money and disappoint all involved with the project or to display the painting without permission and pay off all the fines if there were any.
The authority of the curator Clare Fox was only over the park and nowhere else. I decided to abandon the park all together and displayed this giant monster all over the city. The painting went over the bridges, over the loading docks, by the river fishing area, underpasses, over the steps, under the steps, under the bridges, public walk ways, through the museum, via the art school, through the luxury hotels, private properties and more. This monster was so long that it caught everyone's attention and won admiration.
Now was my time to face the authorities. Right before the Guinness official was in the city to measure the world’s longest painting, I got a call from the Grand Rapids Police Department. I was asked to appear before the panel that seemed like gangsters waiting to avenge and confront me. The panel included ArtPrize Kevin Burst and his body guards, park authority representatives, and Grand Rapids Police Lieutenant Dean.
I told them that if they had wanted we could have done this together and it was they who chose to stand against me for this. However by then the painting had been displayed all over the city and the situation was complex. I was asked to remove the work in two hours when it took nine hours for a team of nine people to simply lay the painting down. Lieutenant Dean was on round all night screaming at my team while they were removing the painting.It is hard to get things done in a complex world we live in!!!