Cultural History: Installation Art: Time and space, theory and praxis

Course content

Since the 1960s, installation art has developed into one of the most popular and versatile art forms available today. It is widely used in biennials and exhibitions of contemporary art across the world, and it has ramified into numerous sub-genres and hybrid crossovers with, for instance, performance, sound and site-specific art. In recent years, it has also been instrumentalized to enhance the ‘spectacle’ of consumer culture, as well as providing more immersive and sensory experiences to museum audiences. As an art form that extends the work of art in both time and space to involve viewers in a more bodily and participatory way, it is also a theoretically challenging object of study because it subverts, and expands, conventional notions of what a work of art can be, and what it can do – both in terms of how it ‘represents’ the world, and how it ‘embraces’ the viewer in order to re-structure the viewer’s aesthetic experience.


This course aims to explore different aspects of ‘installation’ by combining ‘theory’ and ‘praxis’, meaning that the reading of some key theoretical texts on installation art will work in tandem with the close analysis of selected works of art by artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Mona Hatoum, Ilya Kabakov, Jeppe Hein, Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, David Rokeby and Julia Scher. Described in thematic terms, the course will consider the historical origins of installation art, the theory and critique of the genre, as well as its particular way of articulating time, space and narrative. Moving beyond the sphere of the visual arts, it will also look at how ‘installation’ has developed into a more encompassing cultural phenomenon, and consider whether ‘installation’ can be adopted as an analytical perspective to explore other cultural modes of representation and experience than those of ‘high art’.


Among installation art’s many sub-genres, video installation holds the pride of place. Thus, there will be a special historical focus on the origins of video and media art and an analytical emphasis on closed-circuit (‘live’) video installations, which have been paramount to the development of video installation- and media art at large. Another special focus will be on the introduction of some important representatives of the second generation of artists, who have contributed considerably to securing the international recognition of media art. They deliver a splendid example of the continual cross-media development of film and video, gradually including the digital forms of expression ‘from scratch’. Through the independent development of hardware and software components in connection with both visual and ‘biofeedback‘ interfaces, the closed-circuit video installations by these artists and groups have initiated the transition from analogue “video art” to digital “media art”, which paved the way for the developments undertaken by the third generation. In addition, the examples in this course will offer perspectives for strengthening the productive relationships between the fields of art history, visual culture and modern culture.


Moderne Kultur

Suggested reading:


Claire Bishop, Installation Art: A Critical History, London: Tate Publishing, 2005.


Slavko Kacunko, Closed Circuit Videoinstallationen. Ein Leitfaden zur Geschichte und Theorie der Medienkunst mit Bausteine eines Künstlerlexikons, Berlin: Logos Verlag, 2004.


Anne Ring Petersen, Installation Art: Between Image and Stage, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2015.

Dette kursus er en del af tapas-kurserne på Moderne Kultur. Hvis du er indskrevet på 2015-ordningen på Moderne Kultur, skal du tilmelde dig både et kursus i Kulturhistorisk emne, forløb 1 (c, d eller e) samt et forløb 2 (c, d eller e). Du skal vælge et kursus både i forløb 1 og 2. Det er IKKE muligt at følge enten 2 forløb 1 eller 2 forløb 2.
Eksamen kan aflægges i modulerne 2, 3 eller 7 på Moderne Kultur 2015-ordningen.

7,5 ECTS
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  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 84
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 98
  • English
  • 210