Experience & Conceptualisation of Installation Art (11 May 2006)
creator(s) Marga van Mechelen (senior lecturer)

Marga van Mechelen is a senior lecturer at the University of Amsterdam (dep. Art and Culture). She publishes widely on conceptual, performance, installation and digital new media art since the late seventies and on issues concerning historiography and visual theory in general and visual semiotics and psycho-semiotics in particular.

Van Mechelen presented this paper during the 4th Inside Installation seminar on ’Theory and Semantics’, May 11, 2006 at the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht.

Contemporary installation art has a history and many predecessors in Dada, Constructivism, Arte Povera, Happenings and the art of the seventies. Everyone agrees about that. More disputable is the beginning of what we now call installation art, having the installations of the nineties in mind. Jeffrey Shaw and Tjebbe van Tijen’s Revolution (one of the project’s cases) is a work of the nineties, but should be considered as imbedded in the history of intermedia or multimedia art that goes back to the sixties and seventies. In my talk I will discuss some historical facts, considerations and definitions that form the background of our contemporary understanding of the installation, paying special attention to the role played by De Appel Foundation that has been mentioned as the first venue for installation art. I will argue that most of the installations at that time were still performance related and that this heritage is still relevant for the approach and consequently the preservation of Revolution. I will plead for a methodology that starts with the implied experience of the installation.

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