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Constructed situations : socialising a sculptural practice

Robins, J 2015 , 'Constructed situations : socialising a sculptural practice', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Through a series of large-scale installations, this project has sought to
challenge and reactivate the established logic and institution of the gallery.
The installations consisted of constructed interventions comprising
abstracted spatial conventions. Focussing on physical aspects of specific
gallery spaces, the works aimed to provoke audience members to reassess
their physical and psychological positions in relation to the use, history and
context of gallery situations. The interrogation of diverse gallery spaces then
determined a series of liminal environments in which autonomous sculptural
objects and installations were made to exist in dialogue.
The project built upon the historical legacy of Minimalism, and took up
strategies drawn from the Conceptual Art movement, specifically the work
of Sol Lewitt, Bruce Nauman and Michael Asher. Hal Foster’s essay The
Crux of Minimalism (1996) framed the initial research, while works by
contemporary artists Elmgreen and Dragset, Monika Sosnowska, and Oscar
Tuazon served as contextual references.
In the course of developing the project, spatial experiments were contingent
on the sites in which they were conducted, and the works employed key
architectural forms: threshold, corridor, pathway and wedge. Vernacular
building conventions and materials were used to limit and highlight the
constructions’ familiar elements and to subvert the austerity of the minimal
objects. Characteristics from the built environment were brought into play:
customary signifiers of public and private such as actual and perceived
barriers, control of movement through lighting and floor covering variations,
and lines of sight. These characteristics were engaged to mediate viewers’
behaviour, their awareness and relationship to the exhibition space they
occupied and, by extension, the constructed environments external to it.
Geographer Doreen Massey’s writing on the interrelation between space
and the political was used as a lens through which to understand links
between space, time, human movement and the construction of spatial
relations. The main theoretical context for the spatial and social aspects of
this research is Henri Lefebvre’s theorisation of spatial production, in
particular his triad of perceived/conceived/lived spaces, and Jacques
Rancière’s notion of ‘the distribution of the sensible’, a ‘politics of
aesthetics’ that governs the form of the established social order.
In focussing on, and mutating relations between viewer, object, and space,
this project has addressed and extended the inquiry of object relations into
an interrogation of spatial conventions and their capacity to have impact on,
and determine, the social order of the gallery. Through its constructed
spatial devices, developed in collaboration with conventions governing
exhibition spaces, this project has sought to deliver an object lesson in the
redistribution of the sensible.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Robins, J
Keywords: Installation, sculpture, built environment, social space, Jacque Rancière
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2015 the author

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