The Immersive Experience of Instillation Art

Dramatic, startling, and immersive, the art of the installation piece invites the viewer into the story of the artwork. It is a medium that that is continually gaining popularity with collectors, museums, galleries, public and private institutions, and audiences. It is artwork created with an underlying narrative and the intention to inform and enhance the viewers’ experience and perception of the piece and the space where it is exhibited. 


Installation artwork is all about the idea, about evoking a concept, a spectacle, a story, and inviting the audience into the work. It can celebrate a holiday, landmark, or event. It emphasizes creativity, invokes mood and the power of the public’s interaction with the artwork. It brings out the balance between the architecture, the artwork, and the narrative. 

The Art of the Installation Piece

One characteristic of a very creative and organic genre is that the artwork is often site-specific and is meant to be part of its environment, as either a temporary or permanent installation. The art interacts with the space and enhances it, and the work itself is informed by its setting. The art playfully shapes the viewers’ understanding and aesthetic and emotional interaction with the piece. The artwork is often displayed in an interior space, while the terms intervention art, public art, or land art are used to describe artwork that is installed outdoors. However, these terms are fluid. While there are no set rules in the art form, many of the pieces are three-dimensional and of a heroic size that invites awe and contemplation. The work may be put up temporarily as part of an exhibit or made a permanent installation at the site. 


Installation pieces come from a variety of sources, which include artists using “readymade” pieces and the energy of the Dada movement. The art of the installation took off in the sixties and seventies. Installation work differs from traditional sculpture, with its focus on form. Installation artworks are based upon the conception of the piece, rather than solely relying on the outward appearance, as is the case of previous sculptural works of art. Installation art employs a rich variety of forms and materials, and may include a diverse range of elements, such as sculpture, electronic media, and performance, to express the artist’s vision. 

Installation Artwork Comes Into Its Own

Artists have created installation artwork from the beginning of time, but the specific term and codified concept came to be defined as the term of art when, in 1958, Allan Kaprow utilized the description “environment” to capture in words his intentional interior spaces. Then, in 1969, the Oxford English Dictionary employed the term “installation” to explain the specific form of the art.

Installations are created to evoke narrative and inspire with dramatic power. The interaction of the installation artwork is a merging of beauty, sculptural integrity, the environment, and the audience in a unique and ever-changing dynamic that involves thought and feelings, ambiance, mood, and social/cultural interactions that unite to create the world of the installation piece.