Installation Art: Background information when reading The Wonder Garden

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The Wonder Garden

by Lauren Acampora

The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora
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  • First Published:
    May 2015, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2016, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
Installation Art

Print Review

Maurizio Bolognini art installationIn The Wonder Garden, one of the stories, "Swarm," features a sculpture created by local artist Martin who is commissioned to meticulously craft thousands of different bugs to carpet the exterior surface of a neighbor's house. Should it also be considered installation art?

Installation art is a form of art where a variety of media (paints, sculpture, lighting, sound, even video) are used in tandem to create an artistic message for the viewer by the artist. The art takes the entire boundaries of the space assigned to it into account and is tailored for just that unit.

Ann Hamilton art installationUnlike most other forms, where the value of the art is inherent to the material object, installation art derives its utility from the net experience created by an assemblage of different components. In that sense, the viewer is often very much a part of the multi-sensory experience and an essential component of the installation. So according to this definition, the assemblage of bugs in "Swarm" is not installation art in that it does not envelop the viewer in any way. But in the video below that shows famous American installation artist Ann Hamilton's piece, "Event of a Thread," the viewers are most definitely essential to the experience of the art - their movement on the swings creates different waves and patterns in the billowing fabric.



Contemporary installation art often uses digital media and videos to create a multi-sensory experience. I had the good fortune of checking out a recent installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston – A World of Glass, by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, which featured polyurethane sculptures, spot lighting and video projections. The net effects created on the walls of the room (projected imagery) changed as per the viewer's movements. These, together with the flickering videos, created a surreal and memorable art experience.

Maurice Benayoun art installationSome incredibly arresting examples of art installations are at artinstallation.tumblr.com.

An urban interactive art installation by Maurizio Bolognini (Genoa, 2005), which everybody can modify by using a cell phone, courtesy of V.fanis1
Ann Hamilton's work, courtesy of www.annhamiltonstudio.com Artist Maurice Benayoun's Neorizon, an urban interactive art installation, (eArts Festival Shanghai, 2008), courtesy of MoBen

Article by Poornima Apte

This article was originally published in May 2015, and has been updated for the February 2016 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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