I just finished reading Installation Art In The New Millennium—a part of my effort to self-educate on installation art since I never really studied it in school.
The text of the book is fairly minimal and I can’t say that I got a lot from it, although I did jot down one or two quotes from it. Really the book serves as a photographic overview of a variety of installation styles and an introduction to many artists’ work.
One of the
wackiest, bizarre (because I can’t think of the right word to describe it) installations I learned about is one called Cloaca by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye. Delvoye made a perfect recreation of the human digestive track through synthetic chemicals in these big vats. The “machine” had to be fed daily and then, after going through the simulated digestive track, excrement that was almost exactly like human poop emerged. Those nuggets were then sold as limited edition art.
Another artist I learned about is Hans Haacke, a German artist who was commissioned by the German Parliament to create an installation in their courtyard. Haacke invited the 669 members of the parliament to fill a wooden trough with earth from their respective districts. He then challenged the parliament–in what became a controversial decision that almost had his installation removed–by writing DER BEVÖLKERUNG instead of DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE. The former translates to “the population” or “the people,” which he felt was more inclusive than the parliament’s official inscription, the latter phrase, which translates to “the German people” (which fails to take into account the people from other countries).
Looking forward to reading more, learning about more artists, and getting more inspiration. Any recommendations of other texts are much appreciated!