Installation Art and Architecture
Installation Art and Architecture
Architecture has produced works that was revered, respected and something that captured the awe of the people for years. It was the source of something beautiful and even artistic. It was because of architecture that the likes of the Parthenon, as well as the other majestic palaces and cathedrals and other structures – things that people have considered as artistic and beautiful – was created and later enthroned in the annals of what is beautiful and what is artistic.
Architecture has endured for years, but the growth of the practice of architecture also made it possible for the creation of other disciplines from which what is beautiful and artistic would be derived from. One of the things that were always placed side by side with architecture today, when it comes to the consideration of art and beauty inside space and location, is installation art. Over the years, installation art has become widespread and gained popularity.
But the spread of installation art has one serious repercussion – its act of intrusion in the realm of architecture, an act of intrusion that is not harmoniously creative but is sometimes destructive too. There maybe instances wherein the collaboration and fusion of architecture and installation art can produce something that exudes harmonized beauty and reflect certain artistic values and content.
What captures the attention of professionals is how installation art appears to be more inclined in attacking the space and the features of architecture, either as part of its overall artistic outlook or just because this is a necessary characteristic for installation art to fully manifest itself. This has been an important point of argument since installation art has emerged. There are those who believe that the two disciplines exist in harmony together while there are those who believe otherwise.
Because of this, the paper will try to discuss and analyse what the relationship is between installation art and architecture, how art invades architectural space, when and how art and architecture intersect and what will be the result of the collaboration of art and architecture. The Evolution of Installation Art Installation art, as the name implies, is all about a work of art that was installed in a particular place. It maybe a simple object or a collection of objects, that occupies very little space.
It can be something – a sight or visual cue that can make the audience feel as if they were transformed in another place because of the broadness of the reach, physically, of the installation art that a whole new environment was created because of installation art. There are many different components that may make up a work of art considered as installation art (since anything that can be installed in a place can be a part of installation art).
From video presentations to exhibited photographs, sculpture and other artworks, these all contribute to make installation art what it is and to help installation art achieve its goal, and that is to transform a particular place in such a way that what was achieved was the experience and sensory cues that the artist(s) wanted or anticipated in the creation of installation art. Installation art, like any other art styles, genres and movements have beginnings in different countries and many places around the world proved amenable to the growth, patronage and continued development of installation art (Childs, Storry, 1999, p.
273). Considered as a genre or art movement that is still under the contemporary art era, installation art was felt as early as the seventies. A very good example of some of the earliest installation art include the latrine turned fountain by Marcel Duchamp entitled “Fountain”, a work of art that was controversial and sensational largely because of what it presented and the social taboos and conventions that it challenged during its release.
Joining Duchamp as some of the earliest proponents of installation art includes Kurt Schwitters, as well as the Gutai group, an art group that was situated outside of the US and in Japan, and the American Allan Kaprow. These individuals are just some of the prominent individuals in installation art – browsing intensively through the history of installation art. Research would reveal several other individuals who participated in the establishment and growth of installation art around the world (Childs, Storry, 1999, p. 273). Kaprow was considered as one of the artists who helped guide the idea of installation art towards what it is today.
He has postulated many different ideas that concretized the concept of installation art since its early years. Kaprow’s idea about environmental art contributed towards the development of installation art as how it is known today. By the start of the last two decades of the 20th century, installation art was already known in many parts of the world, including European countries (Childs, Storry, 1999, p. 273). “The term installation art has been in common use since at least the mid-1980s and ‘installations’ have become familiar sights in British museums and galleries in the 1990s (Childs, Storry, p273).
” Besides Kaprow, there is also the famous installation art pioneer, Ilya Kabakov, who was also instrumental in developing installation art. Together with Kaprow, Kabarov helped in bringing installation art closer to the people, as well as to the artists by using the academe and including installation art in what they teach in school so that students will understand installation art better and maybe even contribute to installation art in the future (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p. 117). “Two of the key coiners of installation art are Allan Kaprow and Ilya Kabakov.
Both artists not only made art installation but they also introduced the practice into academia (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p. 117). ” Kabakov and Kaprow and their role in the introduction of installation art in the consciousness of art students learning in the academe is instrumental in the growth of installation art, which , in one way brought installation art and architecture closer together. The idea behind the creation of the discipline that would be known as installation art lies on the belief of the artists that there are other ways that can be explored.
The viewing experience of the people who are trying to appreciate art is something that the audience can experience, detect and maximize (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). The physical attributes of the place contributes in making the artistic exhibition what it was, therefore, bringing the artworks and the experience closer to the people and helping them identify with their selves better while being immersed in the art they are witnessing in installation art exhibits.
“Installation art attempts to reduce the boundaries between the viewer and the viewed and bring the artists’ ideas to a situation where they can be communicated more directly (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). ” From lifting from available materials, installation art experienced an important change when television and video recording was introduced. It allowed the artists more diversity in their works and allowed more ways and means for the artwork to be presented to the public. Because of this new technology, installation art was able to add a new dimension to itself.
Today, video has been an integral part of installation art anywhere in the world. Artists, like Martin Firrell and Jenny Holzer, are some of the installation art specialists who are known to use the technologies, videos and digital presentation. Over time, the support for installation art, its ideas and the discipline, grew. Many entities like the Museum of Installation located in London, as well as the Mattress Factory in the United States, sounded their support for the growth of installation art as a separate and independent movement in the world of art.
This is concretized by the growth of the artists immersed in this style. There are many installation art works to come out of England. One example is the work entitled Neon Rice Fields exhibited in 1993 by an artist from Vietnam who was already based in Great Britain named Vong Phaophanit (Childs, Storry, 1999, p. 273). This also signifies the relevance of the countries, too, that supported installation art. For example, the British prides itself with several artists, some of them are not even born in that country.
However, because of the artistic atmosphere in the country, even foreign born artists are now based there because of how the country creates a local artistic community that is amenable for the art and the artists. Part of the development and evolution of installation art is the introduction of this particular art form in the academe. By being introduced to the academic world and being studied and used by professionals, it was a way of awarding installation art a sense of legitimacy in the art world, like giving it its rightful place in the world of art.
And an important point in the discussion of the intersection of installation art and architecture can be seen in the discussion of installation art in the academe, although historians are not quite sure when this began (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p. 117). “It is difficult to trace the exact history and point of departure for using installations in architectural education (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p. 117). “
Some observers believed that when installation art was introduced in the academe, it was placed inside the educational system for learning architecture, placing installation art as a part and not something greater than architecture. Notably, installation art was greatly embraced in the realm of architecture, even in the academic realm. “Installation practice in architecture schools is growing both in undergraduate and diploma studies as well as postgraduate research (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p, 117). ” Role of Installation Art
Installation art is here because of a particular reason; one of the reasons is the role which artists believe installation art has. Often, it is the role of message-sending, addressing issues that can be as broad as socio-political issues or even personal issues; the focus is on the individual and the realization of the individual/audience after being exposed to the installation art (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p. 117). “Some practice installation as urban interventions to question cultural or socio-political issues (Al-Qawasmi, De Velasco, 2006, p. 117). ” Here is an example.
If you would one day happen to see a sculpture of an image of a polar bear sitting under a very small pack of ice placed on the sidewalk, placed there by the artist, it may mean that the artist is trying to send a socio-cultural message that is environmental in nature (i. e. tackling the issue of global warming and how the work of art represents the effects and changes that will happen to the planet if global warming remains unchecked and unresolved, and that would include the loss of natural habitats of animals in the polar regions and the displacement of animals inside locales they are not known to thrive in the first place).
Another good example is the work of British artist Michael Landy. Landy became more popular after his Breakdown installation art which he held at the C&A building located in London. He protested about consumerism through his art – composed of installation and performance art that saw Landy bringing in his possessions on sight and burning it in front of the audience (Walford, 2001). Installation Art: Rise and Recognition The emergence of installation art as a specific discipline in the world of art has gained notable rise and earned the recognition of the authorities in the field of art.
Today, there are many reputable organizations, as well as award giving bodies, that acknowledge installation art and their significance. For example, “the Turner Prize shortlists have increasingly included such work (installation art) by British or British-based artists including Vong Phaophanit, Douglas Gordon and Rachel Whiteread (Childs, Storry, 1999, p. 273). ” These award giving bodies and the recognition that they give to installation art and the artists of installation art, helped cement the place of installation art.
It also helped the artists in the local and international community, contributing to the growth of installation art. This is important in the rise and recognition of installation art. How Installation Art Invades Architectural Space Architecture thrived because there were available spaces that were transformed through the use of construction and the implementation of design and creation policies and concepts exclusive to architecture. Because of that, architecture cannot be considered as creating physical outputs that are intrusive towards existing objects that occupied space to where they would encroach.
Architecture did not encroach because the buildings were made atop a land previously featureless. If there were any buildings before architectural efforts were made, it was considered as an act of improvement for the previously placed structure, which is made by architecture. Regardless of how old the type of architecture would be, still, it is architecture. The case is different with installation art because installation art places itself inside the design of architecture – designs which did not accommodate such features, and sometimes, will not accommodate such features.
And when this happens, installation art invades architectural space. For example, public parks where installation arts are in place can be considered as an act of destroying the concept of what is beautiful. This is because an alien thing was added to the park, a feature that was not planned to be there in the first place, ergo giving the people the chance to redefine what a beautiful park is– was it the one with the installation art or the one without it?
Even if installation artists argue that installation art has aesthetic value, design is not a simple mathematics of putting one beautiful thing inside another beautiful thing and the automatic result is a beautiful and artistic thing. Sometimes, the combination of two separate, beautiful and artistic things may not be a harmonious endeavour. The characteristic of one of the two will be affected by how the other will minimize, alter or damage the original state of the half of the two, making the union sometimes just beneficial to one and disastrous to the other.
Installation Art, Architecture and Purpose An important aspect in the analysis of architecture and installation art and the times the two are intersecting each other and invading each other’s space is hinged on purpose – the purpose of the artist and the purpose of the person who allowed the creation of the installation art or architecture (or both), which is usually the artist’s financier or benefactor. What is the purpose of the installation art and what is the purpose of architecture? This will take a long discussion starting with the origins of the two.
Architecture was primarily created so that the creation of a functional structure (both permanent and temporary) can also feature aesthetics at the same time. However, the creation places more importance to functionality and usability than beauty and aesthetics. Installation art, on the other hand, is hinged strongly on artistic background. The focus of installation art is art itself and not functionality. Therefore, when the two collide in a single space, there is a fight between which should prevail in the space – is it architecture and its functionality or installation art and it’s more artistic and aesthetic purpose?
For those who give installation art a space, their main reason is its humanistic impact on the viewer – art appreciation, and even detoxification from stress through the beauty in art. An ideal example is Spaceplace created by Maurice Agis and Peter Jones, which was created for its non-functional purpose and yet the artists believe that there is an important role of the installation art nonetheless. This is found in how the artwork impacts the audience, particularly in the personal level depending on how the artwork affects the audience/viewer (Kronenburg, 2003, p.
229). They are the first to admit that Spaceplace is more aesthetic than traditional functional; critics and observers believed that such was the case (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). “The aim of Spaceplace was to create a new environment based on aesthetically controlled considerations rather than conventional functional issues (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). ” This is a clear differentiation of installation art and architecture. Spaceplace was purely installation art.
The sole functionality of this is to affect the audience/people and not to be something that should be used in a manner that architectural works are utilized for their functionality. It may not be functional based on what “functional” is often understood (i. e. something that has practical use or something that is useful) but its effect on the audience/people is nonetheless important. Spaceplace is “an installation that explored the relationship between simple rectangular forms in order to create abstract non-functional spaces that were… related to the human body.
The work was an attempt by the artists to provide a foil to the chaotic spaces of everyday human activity (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). ” The artists added that the other purpose of this particular installation art is to have the audience’s sensory activity stimulated in a positive way (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). Often, architecture and installation art does not cross each other’s path. The invasion of the space allotted for the two are often separate, especially when there are spaces that are allotted for art works and there are spaces allotted for strictly architectural endeavors and works.
For one, practical and functional creations are often delegated to architectural works; while installation art is often given space only inside art galleries which allots space for art forms like installation art and not to architecture. Take for example, Maurice Agis’s Spaceplace – it is an installation art that required the use of a large space. The art gallery gave them this space, therefore, making it unnecessary for the installation art to invade architectural spaces because they have their own space wherein they can showcase themselves.
“The installation therefore relied totally on the provision of a separate shelter environment in the form of gallery space (Kronenburg, 2003, p. 229). ” But this situation was actually met with negativity especially by the artists because the artists like Agis himself believes that confining the installation art in gallery spaces actually pushes the artworks farther from the public and the public experience, which was the main goal of the installation art in the first place.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 September 2016
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