Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Review: Installation Art

I had to share this with you as Installation Art made me where I am today. I was 18 with not much insight into the world of contemporary art until I was shown this book by one of my old tutors. It made me realise at a young age that my practice needed to be more than just a painting - it needed to be noticed. From that day I've continued this passion and as a teacher I can't recommend this book more. It is packed with vibrant, fast-changing ideas for students (and teachers!) and is split into five inspirational sections. Firstly, being an exciting introductory text written by Michael Archer entitled 'towards installation'. For those of you who are unaware who Michael Archer is - he was my course leader at Goldsmiths University for 2 years of my life, worldwide art critic and would scare you every time with his brilliance. The introductory text was termed 'towards' because back when the book was published installation art was very much a new thing. There still isn't a solid definition for installation art today and that's what is so great about it. Michael Archer guides you through the history and making of installation art from Duchamp's early readymades to the classic pop art of Claes Oldenburg. The rest of this art bible is then divided into photographic documents named site, media, museum and architecture. All of the artworks within the book share some sort of theatrical presence that as a teacher lets you get involved and your students will fall in love with the idea of creating art like their new found heroes: Christo, Richard Wilson, Hans Haacke, Joseph Kosuth, Mike Kelley and Rachel Whiteread to name but a few! 

This book left me realising as a young art student that installation is a rich art form, often heroic in scale, sometimes humorous and my thoughts about art changed when I realised art didn't have to be a permanent fixture. Now as a teacher this is the book that I go to for my inspiration again. Not only for my own work but also for project ideas. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing my student's go "wow that's so cool!" when you show them it and no matter how old the book is getting it's still a fresh, exciting art form that should be at the forefront of any classroom! 
- Kirsty 

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