Monday, March 19, 2007

But is it Installation Art?

Claire Bishop is an art historian and critic based in London. In her article she focuses on the issue of how the plainness of art works drew attention to the space in which they were shown, which gave rise to a direct engagement with this space as a work in itself. She explains that since the time that this had happened the distinction between installation art and an installation of works of art has become blurred. She states that both point to a desire to heighten the viewer's awareness of how objects are positioned (installed) in a space, and of our response to that arrangement. Claire also claims that there are important differences.

Different artists go for different concepts, some might make an installation mainly for the object itself otherwise might make an installation that is set in a specific environment to complement the art work. Either way artists make the visitor feel aware of the space they are in but placing more emphasis on the viewer's active participation to generate the meaning of the work. The variety of works demonstrated over the years by different artist show that installation art means many things. But, their values concern a desire to activate the viewer - as opposed to the passivity of mass-media consumption - and to induce a critical vigilance towards the environments in which we find ourselves. Claire however states that other artist have turned installation art into a branch of interior design and one could argue that once a person enters a decorated room, their sense of feeling is totally changed as if they where just supposed to enter a plain room.

Claire states that the best installation art is marked by a sense of opposition towards its environment, a friction with its context that resists organizational pressure and instead exerts its own terms of engagement.

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