Elisa Caldarola, “Improvisation and Installation Art”, forthcoming in “Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Improvisation in the Arts” (eds. A. Bertinetto and M. Ruta)

Sarah Sze, Triple Point – Planetarium, U.S. Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2013, photo: Elisa Caldarola

Abstract: This chapter illustrates through the analysis of some examples how philosophical research can illuminate the improvisational aspects of installation art. There is little philosophical research on improvisation in the visual arts.[1] Similarly, there is little philosophical research on installation art – in section 2, I mention some key claims that have been put forward.[2] Not surprisingly, then, philosophers have not yet focussed – at least to my knowledge – on improvisation in installation art. The issue, though, is timely. Not only some installation artists have explored improvisation in their practice, both solo and collaboratively (see section 3) but, as I shall argue, it can be claimed that some works of installation art represent or express improvisation (section 4), that some invite the public to engage in improvisation (section 5), and that curatorial teams responsible for the displays of certain installation artworks have the opportunity to introduce improvisational elements in their practice, if they so wish (section 6).

[1] For an introduction to improvisation in the arts see Bresnahan (2015). On improvisation in painting see Gilmour (2000), Sawyer (2000), Sansom (2001), Colaizzi (2007). On improvisation in cinema see Wexman (1980) and Sterrit (2000).

[2] On the aesthetic appreciation of installation art see Rebentisch (2012); on the ontology of installation art see Irvin (2013).


Philosophy of Art: New Directions Conference, University of Padova, 12 and 13 September 2019



We are pleased to announce that the Conference “Philosophy of Art: New Directions” will take place on September 12th and 13th 2019 at the FISPPA Department (Philosophy Division) of the University of Padova. It will be the mid-term conference of the research project “A Philosophy of Art Installation”, to be followed by the final conference “Space, Site, Installation. Philosophy, Art Theory and Art Practice” in March 2020.

Venue: Aula Diano, Palazzo Liviano, Piazza Capitaniato, 7, Padova


September 12


8.50-9.00 Opening


Chair: Elisa Caldarola (Padova)

9.00-10.00 Francisca Pérez Carreño (Murcia), Beyond Fiction: about The Role of Imagination in Literature

10.00-11.00 Kalle Puollakka (Helsinki), Trust in Literature


11.00-11.30 Coffee break


Chair: Matteo Ravasio (Beijing)

11.30-12.30 Alessandro Bertinetto (Torino), The Aesthetics of Photographic Improvisation. A Work in Progress

12.30-13.30 Nemesio García-Carril Puy (Granada), Ontological Challenges in Musical Authenticity and The Nested Types Solution


13.30-15.00 Lunch


Chair: Lisa Giombini (Roma Tre)

15.00-16.00 Simona Chiodo (Milano, Politecnico), The Beautiful, The Sublime and The City

16.00-17.00 Xavier De Donato Rodriguez (Santiago de Compostela), Environmental Integralism: New Prospects for The Ontology, The Aesthetics and the Ethics of Architectural Works


17.00-17.30 Coffee break


Chair: Alessandro Bertinetto (Torino)

17.30-18.30 Lisa Giombini (Roma Tre), Objects and Symbols. How Should WeRespect Architectural Property?

18.30-19.30 Elisa Caldarola (Padova), Understanding Site-specific Art


20.30 Dinner, Ristorante “Alle Piazze”, Via Manin, 10, Padova



September 13


Chair: Gabriele Tomasi (Padova)

9.00-10.00 Michael Morris (Sussex), Art and Metaphysics

10.00-11.00 Jerrold Levinson (Maryland), Kafka’s “Underground Man”: Reflections on The Burrow


11.00-11.30 Coffee break


Chair: Marcello Ghilardi (Padova)

11.30-12.30 Laura Di Summa – Knoop (William Paterson, NJ), Fashion, Style, and Identity

12.30-13.30 Andrea Borghini (Milano), Cooking and Dining as Forms of Public Art


13.30-15.00 Lunch


Chair: Laura Di Summa (William Paterson, NJ)

15.00-16.00 Davide Dal Sasso (Torino), Investigating Conceptualism in Philosophy of Art

16.00-17.00 Marcello Ghilardi (Padova), A Pathway among Different Cultures: an East-West Dialogue through Art and Aesthetics

17.00-18.00 Matteo Ravasio (Beijing), Artistic Genres across Cultures


Commentators: Simone Grigoletto, Francesca Marin, Vittorio Morato, Matteo Plebani, Barbara Santini, Giuseppe Spolaore


Organizers: Elisa Caldarola, Gabriele Tomasi

Info: elisa.caldarola@gmail.com