New forms of Art : Installation

An Installation: Any arrangement of objects and materials or images can be claimed as installation art 

 Is installation a distinct artist practice?

Any arrangement can be installation, no specific process is involved

Where did installation begin?

cave paintings in Lascaux?

Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo?

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain?

Where ever it was created it is nothing without the gallery, Conceptual installation needs the gallery space to be art.


1. Romanticism-Panoramas

Panoramas became popular across Europe and became a more elaborate way of working creating illusion.

Anon, The Rhinebeck Panorama 1810
Robert Barker 360 degrees of Edinburgh 1789

Hendrick Mesdag, The Mesdag panorama 1880, increased illusion with environmental pieces e.g. sand and other materials which made the environment feel more real. This panorama is lit by daylight making the shadows change, illusionism is increased by the moving of natural light. Lack of spacial queue increases illusion as it includes more than a painting. Some of his panoramas contained sound to further the illusion

The Mesdag Panorama 1880

2. Mass spectacleackermann-rudolph-microcosm-083720

The illusion that you are inside of something. Engulfed within a space.

3. Romanticism

Gesamtkunstwerk- this is translated as a total work of art and is when the spectators’ senses are being attacked by all or many art forms e.g. music, poetry, painting, drama.

Richard Wagner- The Ring Cycle 1848-74 -This is artwork in many forms and is every way of representation overflowing of dramatic gesture.

images (1)Robert Wiene, film stills from the 1920 movie “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari”. The scenes are painted and dramatic lightening is painted encompassing the whole space.

4. Modernism– an attack on easel paintingimages (2)

El Lissitzky- Proun Room. This piece spreads around the whole environment creating a new world or environment.


first_international_dada_fair_in_berlin1334463845579There is not just paintings but posters and slogans on walls, the whole wall was used.

1st international Dada fair- This was a show of Dada artists work in Berlin in 1920. The mannequin on the ceiling is dressed in a German military uniform and has a pigs head on it. as this time was just a couple of years after WWI this was highly offensive.

merzbau2-643x896Kurt Schwitters, “merzbau” was Schwitters equivalent for Dada. His studio was made into an abstract sculpture but there was hidden compartments with pieces of his life and pieces that were meaningful to him, making this piece of work sentimental and highly personal.

Оформление-вводного-зала-советского-павильона-на-международной-выставке-«Пресса»-в-Кёльне.-1928-300x244El Lissitzky- Soviet Pavillion, Dresden 1928

Propaganda for Russia was displayed on every part of the building. The use of three large belts was playing on the idea of motion and the piece can do more.than just wait quietly for the viewer to come.

Big_Gallery_Image_311Paris1938Surréalisme3Marcel Duchamp- Coal Sacks, This piece was 1200 coal sacks hanging down from the ceiling of which you walked under. The piece’s intention was to imaging the sacks full of coal, making them threatening and a danger. This piece was part of a larger exhibition.The International surrealistic exhibition in Paris in 1938. Beds for artists, the floor of the exhibition was gravel and earth with the place having an overwhelming smell of coffee. The sound in the place was the sound of someone laughing, shown in a dark environment, this overwhelmed the visitors, visitors were given bike lamps to see. The over all effect on the viewers made this an overwhelming environment.

downloadMarcel Duchamp- One mile of string made in 1942. Duchamp took over a gallery covering it from corner to corner in taught string making it difficult for the audience to see the artworks on the wall. The string occupies all the available space and the artist brings kids into the space to distract the viewers.

Yves Klein- The void 1960. This piece was the audience was given a blue vivid colour cocktail when they arrived. the gallery they went into was entirely empty with nothing to look at other than white walls. The dye in the drink would later turn their urine blue. The work thus had a shared and a private dimension, waste product of the body leaving the gallery.

oldenburgs-storeClaes Oldenberg- The store 1961. Making ordinary consumer goods; replicas made in mesh were messy, inadequate, oversized, the painting of the wall itself,the display cases reused to become a part of the installation as a whole.

download (1)Allen Kaprow-Words 1962. This piece was a dusty environment were visitors created the work themselves and used the words to make new poems and become creative actors within it. A number of record players in the space on which the visitors were invited to record onto and play into the space.

5. Modernism- The installation shot

Photographic reproduction became cheaper individually and collectively and more widely shot. What the work looks like  inside the room and the relation of the object and the spaceit is not difficult to imagine them to create this installed space.

download (2)Joseph Beuys- The Pack. Collectivity is evident, the photography of this work makes the work look so good as it has been made to look good to reproduce.

Survey 1. Spectacle- The minimalist panorama

richard_wilson_2050Richard Wilson- Oil black floor. The silence within this piece is consuming, disorientating the viewers, giving them a sense of vunerability. The flat reflective surface only has a thin layer of oil through it, however it appears to be deep. The reflective surface gives a sense of vertigo.

They create  an imbalance between the viewer and the work. This imbalance may be experienced as:

  • Exciting
  • Relaxing
  • Disturbing
  • Frightening

The idea is to limit perceptual stigma on the one hand and on the other floods the viewers.

download (3)Olafur Eliasson-  Weather Project. This artist very cleverly plated the ceiling with mirrors to massively increase the sense of space. Interestingly this lead to a change in behaviour among viewers. Many lay down on the floor to contemplate their reflection high above.

The change in behaviour makes this a relation work.

Both these works use reflection and contemplation to product a benign sense of the infinite.

blog-lightsYayoi Kusama, Installation sense( or mirror room) 1992. This piece uses reflection in a more aggressive way. She is interested in how repetition and reflection can cause objects and individuals to disappear. She often photographs herself as an object being absorbed into her environment. However this is not a self portrait it is more that the artwork is containing her, engulfing her as it dangers and dominates her.


Mona Hatoum, Marbles carpet. This piece was an aggressive use of space as the marbles forced visitors to walk around the edge of the room. Her other work, Light Sentence is also quite disturbing as the moving light at the center of the installation creates threatening shadows which tend to keep visitors towards the edge of the (4)

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 by Cornelia Parker born 1956Cornelia Parker- Cold, Dark Matter. In this piece the use of light is in quite a different way from the previous artists. The material stays constant it is still the same shed and the same amount of light within it from beginning to end. However as the form changed after blowing up the shed the light coming from the center of a once functional shed shines around the shattered pieces of wood. The light tends to draw the visitors in as the objects are presented with life to them.

meireles_missao_missoes2Cildo Meireles Missoes- how to build cathedrals. This piece contained 600000 coins, 800 communion wafers and 2000 animal bones being hung from bags above the audiences’ head illustrating the power of religion.

2. Narrative Installation

Ilya_KabakovIlya Kabakov- The Man who flew into space from his apartment.  How do we know what the story is, the work shows a habitable but unusable space with doors, beds,tables  e.t.c. Often the viewer is kept out of the space. The man who we imagine living in this room has dreamed of flying into space. The artist planned to take a whole disused apartment block and in each flat make an installation about a particular obsessive character.

04-cell-XXVI-vw2_300Louise Bourgeois- Cell XXVI. Her work is more abstract than Kabakov’s apartments, but they present us with an enclosure and a sense of habitations, questioning what form of life is this? We feel empathy for the being in the cage fearful and full of anxiety as the body turns into shit. This piece is a self reflection of the artist’s mental state looking at self reflection of feeling trapped in a metaphorical cell, we dive into the human mental state. You are not allowed to go into the cell however your imagination lest you imagine going in and getting trapped inside your own head. You can look into the mesh and look at the being but you can never feel what the being can actually feel as we can’t get in.

Louise Bourgeois- Cell V. This piece contains heave dense balls behind lots of doors enclosing them into a lowery6-15-10-6small space. Is this home or are they trapped as there are ways in and out of the cell.

Cell-Hands-and-MirrorLouise Bourgeois- Hands and Mirrors. There are doors within doors in this piece and inside there are many mirrors. We question what are the hands doing? showing affection/aggression?

What is evident in all of these pieces is that the closure is dominating. Is this connected with a child’s curiosity and fear of the adult world? Louise Bourgeois uses the spider in her work to symbolise her mother. Seeing sewing as a livelihood and feeling of being a bad daughter, maintaining the mystery she hasn’t been able to get into order.

Mike-Nelson-The-Coral-Ree-006Mike Nelson- The coral reef. This piece makes the audience question what might have been going on in each installation. Difficulty to relate to the direction, disorientation is in someways threatening as the installation portrays forms of life being in neglected parts of the city. It is not symbolically unsettling, partly ridiculous, all rough, not a fine work, narrative/inhabitant in each and all of them disorients the viewer.

3. Relational Works

Relational aesthetics- Human relations. This type of installation makes the audience react differently than they usually do in a gallery space prompting the audience to work with each other. This type of art produces a model of sociability, deconstructing the rules of everyone looking the same way at several paintings on the wall, each viewer gets an individual experience. Is this form of art more or less democratic? Artists could equally spend their time creating an arena for social interaction.

09-Oiticica_Tropicalia_with_Penetravels_PN2_PN3_kleinHelio Oiticica- Tropicalia. In This environment you can explore, lie down, even having a cup of tea can be appropriate behaviour in this art form.

ntm3-1-21Ernesto Neto- Walking in Venus- Blue Cave. spices and flour are in the giant bean-bag like surface, they release a smell which is noticeable but not overwhelming. the artist wants people to play with the objects he makes, they are to interact with and the art form is not complete without interaction.

wpid-1139532779humanoidsHumanoids- These pieces can only  become art forms when people put them on. They are not designed to do anything but make people communicate and laugh with each-other over how foolish they look and feel in these forms. sharing foolishness with other people, have a bond with people doing the same thing.

Rist_momaPipilotti Rist- Pour your body out. This is not just a piece of video art, it is also an installation with more than one screen, this piece encourages different  while watching it as their is big pillows to lie and sit on. You could have a conversation with someone and it could actually compliment the video instead of fighting with it.

lap-lamp_420Pipilotti Rist- Lap Lamp. This piece is more about the individual than the audience as you are forced to watch the projection on your lap and as the audience enters the space they feel as if they are intruding on something personal as the projection makes the one watching the projection vulnerable.

CRI_234951rirkrit tiravanija- Untitled. This is an artist who creates the gallery into a space where people can come and get free food. He divides the room, making conventional gallery behaviour exposed to those eating in the space.

images rirkrit tiravanija- Fear eats the soul. This piece is democratic as it opens people up to having a conversation.

All his work is temporary events, with traces of the event left on show referring to the activity that occurred. Does this become art or not art? The packing cage could be a plinth, rubbish takes on another aura of art form as it feeds art world insiders.

316-t-hirschhorn-2002-v2Thomas Hirschhorn- Bataille Monument. This piece was created in a rough housing estate and the only way to get there was by a cab that was designed to take people to and from the place. It usually was closed when they got there making people interact and communicate. This shed like hut had a bar and also brought money into the area.

fgt_installation_3Felix Gonzalez Torres- Untitled (placebo). This piece is a floor full of sweets, representing the wait of his lover, symbolic, relational quality within as he invites you to eat the sweets and drop the wrapper somewhere in the gallery.

images (1)Ai Weiwei- Sunflower seeds. This installation let the audience interact and walk over the individually painted ceramic sunflower seeds  making the audience behave in a non-gallery way. Each seed is hand painted and there is 2 million seeds, representing the population of china and how there is a mass of people however each one is individual. This piece was then restricted to the public to interact with the seeds and there was barriers so people couldn’t touch the seeds making it a much more ordinary piece of art. The changing of interaction completely transforms the piece as you can’t make out the individual seeds, they have just become a mass.

Is all Installation art Theatrical? 

belgium-pavilion-designboomBerlinde  de Bruyckere- Cripplewood. This installation is made up of wax showing that the inorganic can suggest the organic, dark, wood, created into a grotesque being, suggests more than it shows. There is pillows and rags illustrating a insured being. There is nothing wrong with it being theatrical as it makes it more suggestive.

Modernist- During this period in art, artists were showing more painting with brushstrokes shown clearly and where honest about the paint. Paint was declared as paint on the canvas and the public was disgusted by this change. This was true to the paint but theatrically it was seen as impure as theatrical qualities were for decoration and suggested an over exaggeration.

Is it better to represent something or experience it ?

309friedCasper David Friedrich- The sea of ice. This piece I believe is a greater representation than the experience as it shows the emotional coldness within it.

anya_gallacio_main_imageAnya Gallicco- Identities and surfaces. With this work you can feel a physical coldness within it.

Tilted_arc_enWhat do you understand by co-existence criterion? How can our behaviour in relation to an artwork be used to judge its quality, social discipline, exercise of power, in the presence of the art work can judge the quality of the artwork.

Richard Serra- Slanted arc

Liam-Gillick-Discussion-Benches-Casey-Kaplan-Gallery-Exhibition-ViewLiam Gillick- Discussion Benches. Are they working? Social exclusion. Gillick is happy for people to ignore his work,  he makes it  to not hold visual interest. Instead he has posters and prompts for discussion. Cooperate conversation existing. His piece “Rescinded production” was the background to other activity.

55146ddfbb2b1d62b3ed0362d0635beed2805685Carsten Holler- Test Site. You as the audience become part of the artwork, an object for other people. people willing to queue can be the artwork in itself. Is it a democratic form? Visible yet private experience, it is a sketch of how a city could become. This became an advertisement, experimenting with concept, confrontation death, cannot change the order you just have to submit to it, a brush with mortality. Everyone is reduced to a child-like state.

160 cm Line Tattooed on 4 People El Gallo Arte Contemporáneo. Salamanca, Spain. December 2000 2000 by Santiago Sierra born 1966Santiago Sierra- A 160cm line tattooed on 4 people. This piece really interested me, He got together prostitutes and drug addicts and paied them the equivalent of two blow jobs or a shot of heroin to get this line tattooed on their backs. When it was happening they were laughing and joking at them all having this line on their backs, however that line will be with them forever, mental scared, their bodies are not their own they are used and are not their own self.

200092Santiago Sierra- workers who cannot be paid, remunerated to remain inside cardboard boxes- This was a rather uncomfortable installation as people were paid to be in a box. As a form is this democratic? This is a political statement. The concept behind this piece was make the issues with benefits and guards that are paid to do nothing to be made aware of. They were paid to be in a box, this changes the way people react to the boxes as people are caged within them for up to 4 hours in a box. This piece made aware the repeating problems occurring in society, creating people into objects.

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