Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Site-Specific installation what not...

Image by Ryan, Jimmy and Nanka 

The above work titled 'This is my home now...', previously exhibited at the After Math show, was later re-installed at the 'traversed and recorded' exhibition in November 2012. In a walk-about of the show I described this work as a site-specific installation. This phrase seems to be relatively novel to many viewers and required some further elaboration.  I recently came across a great theoretical analysis by Miwon Kwon (cited below) that introduces the topic.

According to Kwon (2004) the idea of site-specificity first emerged in the wake of minimalism in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Kwon (2004) in his One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity, infers that site-specific work was and is antithetical to the claim "If you have to change a sculpture for a site there is something wrong with the sculpture". He claims that both interuptive or assimilative site-specific art surrenders to its context and in fact formally determined by it. Below find a snippet from the artist statement of This is my home now, one of my site specific works. 

This is my home now...
Fold formed aluminium 
Farieda Nazier 

For over a century, the Johannesburg city’s buildings have undergone constant shifting effected by wave upon wave of its diverse residents. From families to businesses, homes to offices; the city has witnessed a broad demographic of settlers who varied in class, race and gender.

Image from:
The city of Johannesburg has evidenced years and years of radical transformation brought about through shaping and erosion by humans and the environment alike. These changes have manifested and accumulated as unique traces within a relatively formal urban landscape.

The sculptural installation titled ‘This is my home now...’ addresses this by illustrating a formally controlled landscape that maintains all evidence of often random or chaotic inscription, physical indications of the history long past i.e. marks, dents and fractures.

'This is my home now'... embodies the shape-shifting nature of the construct that it depicts. Its site-specificity allows for furthered visual associations with architectural structures and cityness by assimilating existing elements within the space; incorporating a section of perpendicular floor-meets-wall, its depth and height, as well as playing with lighting and shadow.

References consulted: 
Kwon, M. 2004. One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. MIT Press: Massachusetts

Other links: