When Is A Room Not A Room? When Its An Installation?
Although I had read a little information about installation through pictures in books and magazines, it was not until recently, when an inspirational visit to Antony Gormley's 'Domain Field' exhibition in 2003 at the Baltic Art Gallery in Newcastle, that first got me really thinking about installation.
After visiting this inspiring work of art, I started to think about the nature of installation, where it derived from and who started it. I wanted to look at the style or type of artwork that is installation, and wanted to find out more about the subject.
Many arguments have been had over the true meaning of installation (in the art sense of the word). So to begin my investigation, I must first try and decipher a meaning of the term installation by studying the different arguments.
According to Oxford's Concise English Dictionary, the correct meaning of the term Installation is:
"installation / instәâ€™leiÆ'(ә)n / n. 1 a the act or an instance of installing. b the process or an instance of being installed. 2 a large piece of equipment, etc. installed for use. 3 an art exhibit constructed within a gallery. [medieval Latin installatio (as INSTALL)]" 2
The third and last meaning of installation is the only one that is related to art. However, the latter of the meanings it gives refers to the older, more traditional meaning of installation and refers to the putting up of paintings or the arrangement of items/objects in an art showing or exhibition. Although, this is not what the modern day meaning of installation is defined as, I believe that the modern definition has derived from this. When I try and think of how to characterize installation, I feel that installation means a site-specific artwork. In this sense, installation is produced particularly for a certain gallery space or outdoor site and it consists of an entire assembly or surroundings.