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Installation blues

The value of a work of art is usually independent of the artist's ideas about it, but this is not the case with installation. As a form, it depends on the ideas that lie behind it and most of these are banal

By John Armstrong   March 2000

Today, installation is the most prominent of the fine arts. Visitors to an exhibition will often be confronted by works which hang from the ceiling, lie strewn on the floor, cut through walls. They will be surrounded, enclosed and entrapped.

Installation can be seen as a form of sculpture: sculpture which we cannot merely walk around, but are often invited to walk into. Installation differs from traditional sculpture in one important way. In sculpture, one kind of material is used to create a model of quite another kind of thing. Marble is chiselled away until it takes on the form…

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