While I was time traveling back to 2000 (see 3 posts ago), I thought about who really shined the light on “installation art” for me. Only two influences really stand out:
First, Yayoi Kusama, whose art I had the immense pleasure of experiencing at MoMA in 1998 (“Love Forever” retrospective exhibit). This piece, as well as the boat covered in squishy things and wall-sized infinity net paintings, really impressed me. She communicated immensity of vision, absurd humor, and powerful focused energy.
After the show, I bought a book about her and learned that in addition to her dot-covered sculptures, paintings and installations, she also staged Happenings, designed clothes, and wrote novels!
Another absolutely astounding artist whom I met while in Western Mass is Karen Dolmanisth. I don’t even know how my-boyfriend-at-the-time became acquainted with her, but he took me to her studio one evening for some occasion, and I felt like I had entered another world, where everything mundane was made magically beautiful. Nails, corn, dresses, glass, sticks… everything was collected and seemed to wear an air of “play”. Later we got to see those materials installed in an old spice warehouse in the big city, where she performed a ritual/dance in collaboration with live music.
Her material choices and way of evoking the spiritual felt so natural to me (in resonance) that only in hindsight could I see them distinctly for what they are, a unique artistic voice. She has continued to produce great work since then, which you can see more of on her website.
Since that time I have encountered many more artists working in this medium, for whom I will save a future post. Oh, but how will I find the words to convey that electric jolt, the body-brain experience of synaesthetic fusion that comes from a space inspirationally transformed? I guess the word is “thrill”.
Thank you, artists!