Art any arrangement of space and that behaviour


Art and how it
interacts with its environment

Contemporary artists
often question the conventional ideas about art, experimenting with different
mediums and approaches to their work allows them to explore new and interactive
ways to engage their viewers. During the twentieth century, many artists
challenged the traditional ideas about painting and sculpture, rather than
displaying separate, individual artworks, they questioned the space around
where the art was exhibited, and embracing the surrounding environment as a new
way for both artists and viewers to interact with the work.

 I am particularly interested in how a space
can alter a person’s mood and mindset, transporting them to a completely new
place that would not be otherwise accessible. 
Through my personal study I am exploring the use of line and now
different patterns can result in different effects, predominantly combining
these with every day, mundane objects

Installation art
emerged out of ‘environments’ a movement where artists such as Allan Kaprow
challenged the traditional and conventional ideas of sculpture. In an undated
interview published in 1965, Allan Kaprow spoke of his first environment, ‘When
you opened the door you found yourself in the midst of an entire
environment…The materials were varied: sheets of plastic, crumpled up
cellophane, tangles of Scotch tape, sections of slashes and daubed enamel and
pieces of coloured cloth…five tape machines spread around the space played
electronic sounds which I composed.’ By combining the use of colour with
aesthetic and auditory factors, Kaprow was key in the progression of
installation art.  Being one of the first
to explore adverse materials and spaces to create immersive and impressionable
environments to provoke feelings and emotions within his audience, he pushed
his work to undiscovered places. As an artist, he stressed his work was in the
same category as the action of abstract expressionists as his pieces involved
spaces that he physically altered, with sights and sounds as deliberately
composed as any canvas by Pollock or Rothko. 
His work was based on a transient and momentary experience felt by the
viewer, being as significant as a painting on canvas.

However, the concept
of designing a totally immersive environment is not entirely new as civic
spaces and places of worship have designed to physically and emotionally
control the inhabitants for centuries. Architectural determinism is
architecture’s ability to affect human experience and behaviour in a known way;
claiming the built environment is the sole determinant of social behaviour. A.
S. Baum defines the concept accordingly, ‘this position argues that the
environment causes certain behaviours, denying any interaction between
environment and behaviour. Architectural determinism poses the idea that people
can adapt to any arrangement of space and that behaviour in a given environment
is caused entirely by the characteristics of the environment.” (footnote
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioural Science, article on
Environmental Psychology, p. 510). This idea of subconsciously controlling
people within a space is still relevant in contemporary circumstances such as
in shopping centres and theme parks. At peak times, such as Christmas, shopping
centres surround their customers with stimuli designed to overwhelm the
cognitive processing, meaning people are less likely to think through decisions
in a complete way, therefore we experience a form of ego depletion and
therefore buy more products without hesitation. This form of physiological
manipulation has also been carried through into the works of artists.
Installation art shifts the between what the art visually represents and what
it communicates, the artists tend to be less focused on producing visually
aesthetic objects as they are dedicated to enfolding the viewer in an
environment of their own control and creation, tweaking the subjective
perception of the viewer to the artist’s desired outcome.

Obliteration Room

Artist: Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama is an
avant-garde artist who was born in Japan, in 1929. Growing up with a physically
abusive mother and being sent to spy on her father’s external martial affairs,

Yayoi Kusama’s
‘Obliteration Room’ started as a simple, mundane room, painted entirely white
to act as a blank canvas. The work is relatively simple in its elemental
composition, however as the work grows as does its complexity and depth. The
white room was then open to visitors to the Queensland art gallery; they were
each given a sheet of coloured stickers, consisting of only primary and
secondary colours and were invited to place the stickers anywhere they desired
in the room. Over the course of time, the collection of stickers grew and the
surfaces of the room were transformed into kaleidoscopes of colour with
collections of spots covering every surface.

Whilst the room was
completely white, the ceiling lights gave depth and dimension to the furniture,
yet as the stickers were added it loses all sense of depth and dimension as all
the colours blur together some objects get lost in the space and are therefore
hard to identify, giving the effect of getting lost in an environment of
overwhelming colour. I think the artist evokes an experience of energy through
the use of the bright, rhythmic, colourful polka-dots. The bold use of colour
and simplicity of the shape creates an overwhelming sense of chaos.  When she was ten years old she began
experiencing hallucinations, she wrote: ‘One day I was looking at the red
flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the
same pattern covering the ceiling… I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate…
I ran desperately up the stairs. The steps below me began to fall apart and I
fell down the stairs straining my ankle’. She soon began to cover both herself
and everything around her in polka-dots, which she referred to as
‘self-obliteration’, ‘polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of
the energy of the whole world and our living life. Round, soft, colorful,
senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to
infinity.’  I feel Kusama uses the space
in the ‘obliteration room’ to embody her illness, to allow the people around
her to experience the way she sees the world through her eyes. This makes the
work a combination of both realism and her reality. The artist’s used this
piece as a way of involving the audience in the creative process, allowing them
to develop and co-create the work alongside the artist herself. This innovative
way of using installation art that encompasses viewer participation, allowing
them to become fully immersed in an experience, one that significantly affected
the senses yet stayed true to the artist’s singular voice and vision. Choosing
to use a domestic environment means the participants could find the familiarity
of the space comfortable and therefore were able to engage with the work freely
which is an element that inspired elements of my own work. The familiarity of
the space is accessible to everyone from children to adults allowing them to
access this world of hers without alienating them in a complete abstract space,
accounting for their entire sensory experience, rather than a painting on a
plain wall. However, to many visitors they will not understand the true depth
of polka-dots, looking at the work from an objective perspective; it is a fun
and interactive work, full of bright bursting colour and the stickers. The
artist has been very detached from the work, there are no explicit traces of
Kusama, marks or personal touches; it is entirely impersonal whilst
simultaneously being overly personal and exposes the darkest corners of her


Cornelia Parker
(born 1956)

Objects in an
installation art space take a new meaning and the context of the elements
defines the interpretation of the piece. Installation art often reflects and
reacts to the world we live in, thereby creating a fusion of art and life.
Cornelia Parker, an English sculptor and installation artist, born in 1956,
embraces this ideology in her work. She manipulates everyday materials to force
the viewer to –re-evaluate how they see the everyday. The apparent fragility of
her work mirrors the fragility of human existence, exploring the amalgamation
of various elements necessary to connect and crate life and art, and the brutal
violence that can deconstruct it.  She is
best known for her large scale installations, such as Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View(1991) – which was first shown at the Chisenhale
Gallery in Bow, East London2 .

which she had a garden shed blown up by the British Army and suspended the
fragments as if suspending the explosion process in time. In the centre was a
light which cast the shadows of the wood dramatically on the walls of the room.3 This inspired an orchestral composition of the same
name by Joo
Yeon Sir.











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