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A History of Installation Art and the Development of New Art Forms

Technology and the Hermeneutics of Time and Space in Modern and Postmodern Art from Cubism to Installation

Faye Ran

Art mirrors life; life returns the favor. How could nineteenth and twentieth century technologies foster both the change in the world view generally called «postmodernism» and the development of new art forms? Scholar and curator Faye Ran shows how interactions of art and technology led to cultural changes and the evolution of Installation art as a genre unto itself – a fascinating hybrid of expanded sculpture in terms of context, site, and environment, and expanded theatre in terms of performer, performance, and public.


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Preface 1


~ P R E F A C E ~ nstallation art has moved from its position as a marginal, experimental practice, into the mainstream of Contemporary art practice. Navigating the currents of Modern and Postmodern art, author Faye Ran provides a historical framework for the understanding of Installation, and much else besides. In fact, the book provides a wide and scholarly analysis of some 100 years of visual art, tracing key events in Modernism, from Cubism, Dada and Surrealism, to the major changes brought about by Postmodernism, from Pop Art and Earthworks, to Body, Minimal and Conceptual Art. Ran sets out, initially, on an exploration regarding the cultural usage and understanding of space and time, key aspects of Installation art. In this way, these terms are described as human ideas, or constructs as opposed to natural phenomena. For the ancients, we are told, time seemed to take the shape of a perpetual present, while Medieval allegory renders the past and present similar, while space (above-below) was symbolic. It is the advent of perspec- tive that turns these symbolic relationships between objects, fore and back- ground into objective relationships. The onset of Modernity through the industrial revolution coincides with the disappearance of ‘lived time’ which is replaced by consumable time. In this way, the author argues, technology is the single most important factor of change in modernism and the avant-garde. Multiple (and reproducible) notions of time and space are offered by photography and film, quite un- related to the experience of our lives....

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