Essay on Installation Art: beyond the Museum, beyond the Boundaries

2428 Words 10 Pages
Millions of coloured dots on the floor, ceiling, and walls. Six large-format, black and white video projections of men and women in their everyday activities. Two chainsaws in a violent dance to destroy the pure walls of the gallery space. Two elevators ten times smaller than the average man. One schoolroom with one backboard and eight over-sized chairs. One unicorn lying in the center of a perfect, open area.

When one reads the above examples of installation art, no matter how educated they are, they are somewhat familiar with what each one entails. Perhaps it is because society is being exposed to a variety of unique, avant-grade practises; or perhaps a more-likely scenario would be because there has been an evident trend in
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However, there is no absolute explanation that can describe what installation art actually `is', or what it includes. This is the very beauty of the art- its boundaries are blurred resulting in a virtually infinite number of solutions regarding medium and theme. By critiquing installation art- which is only defined by the perspectives of contemporary critics, artists and artworks- with an interdisciplinary motif in mind, a greater understanding of the art will transpire, translating into an appreciation for the `total work of art'.

Before the term "installation" developed in an avant-garde perspective, it was the actual embodiment of its literal definition: its purpose was for mounting artworks into the void walls of the museum. The transformation to the installation art we know today is indebted to the influence of numerous artistic movements including Spatialism, Futurism and Constructivism- to name a few. Some say installation emerged from the 50s when Jackson Pollock liberated the frame introducing gestures beyond the canvas by freely throwing paint on the large, open sheet of burlap. Others believe the influence came before that time from the Dadaists, and in particular, Marcel Duchamp, who took the everyday object (ie: toilet), hung it in a gallery space and created the `readymade'. Even others rely on the El Lissitzky's Proun Environment which is arguably the first installation piece because it alludes to…

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