Lothar Baumgarten, “The ship is going under, the ice is breaking through”, 2017, Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, Madrid. [Copyright: Elisa Caldarola]

This blog is dedicated to the research project “A Philosophy of Art Installation”, which I will conduct at the Philosophy Division of the FISPPA Department of the University of Padova, Italy, between April 2018 and March 2020.

What is art installation?

Think of a Renaissance altarpiece like Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints (1505) in the church of San Zaccaria, Venezia; think of a contemporary artwork like Philippe Parreno’s installation Anywhen (at Tate Modern, London between 10/16 and 04/17); think of an exhibition of Chinese ink paintings, like Rendering the Future – Chinese Contemporary Ink Painting, curated by Yin Shuangxi at the Asia Art Center, Beijing in 2014. They all have something in common: they involve objects installed in a certain location. Moreover, it seems that to appreciate the altarpiece as well as the installation and the exhibition fully we need to pay attention to the relationships between the objects and their settings. Those are the kinds of things that I call ‘art installations’.

Why art installation?

So far, scholars have investigated in situ art, site-specific art, installation art, and curatorial installations, but not art installation in general. My project will provide the first systematic study of art installation.

Why a philosophy of art installation?

To understand art installation we need to understand to what art categories objects as diverse as altarpieces, works of installation art, and exhibition displays belong. To give accurate definitions of categories is a job for philosophers. Furthermore, to understand art installation we need to explain what it is that art installation allows us to appreciate, i.e. we need a philosophical account of the value of art installation.

Why this blog?

Art installation is a topic at the crossroads of art and curatorial practice, art and curatorial theory, and aesthetics and philosophy of art. The first goal of this blog is to make information about the development of my research available to specialists from all such fields.

The second goal is to communicate the key issues of the project to anyone who might be interested in art installation: art lovers, students, scholars from other disciplines.

Stay tuned!