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Monday, 11 August 2008

Environmental art

The project is built around artist exchanges and art projects realised during these exchanges. The project focuses on environmental art, an evolving and growing art form that has no clear and readily established definition.

Environmental art uses a broad spectrum of means and practises, methods and materials associated with other fields of art. For its interdisciplinary character it isn’t always recognised as an independent art form. It could be said, that works of environmental art are being made around the world, but they are just placed under many different headings. This ambiguity of definition, it’s “incompleteness”, makes environmental art especially potent ground for multicultural dialogue and innovative cooperation.     

Work of environmental art is not removable from the environment it was born in. It is created in a strong interaction with its surroundings and to some extent also in interaction with its observers. Environmental art sculpts the space it is in by turning a mere space into a place. It adds new meaning to an existing familiar place and makes the observers view it in a new light.

One of the fundamental characteristics of environmental art is change. This change can be seen in both the content and in the form of individual pieces of art. At the level of content, environmental art comments on the changes taking place around us (social, economic and ecological). At the level of form, change can be seen as an essential feature of an individual work of art. This change can be slow or sudden, planned or unexpected – depending on the chosen materials and the chosen form of presentation. Work of environmental art can also be either temporary or permanent. It doesn’t necessarily have to be three dimensional and object like; it can also be an act or an event.

Another characteristic connected to environmental art is publicity. Typically this means that works of environmental art are accessible to everyone. Environmental art is rarely confined into art galleries and museums, but is realised in public spaces where anyone can experience it. People are likely to run into this kind of art in somewhat accidental fashion while going about their everyday lives. A piece of environmental art is typically seen and experienced by a larger and more versatile group of people than pieces of more traditional art.

As a concept environmental art has become to include many different kinds of phenomenon taking place within the art world. For example public art, site specific art, land art and arte povera can be found within its scope. The same work of art can be defined as belonging to several of these different categories just by changing the point of focus. For the work of art itself this changing of headings rarely makes any difference.

In dictionaries and in everyday speech all pieces of art that are situated in public spaces (or in any other built or natural spaces) are referred to as being pieces of environmental art. Used this way, only the surroundings of the work of art are being defined by the term. This definition leaves larger architectural projects and environmental and landscape planning outside the concept’s scope. Actually the vice versa would be best – seeing environmental art as an integral part of all large scale planning.

For an artist to be chosen to take part in this project (s)he doesn’t necessarily need to be familiar with environmental art as it is described here. However, the artist is required to be a professional artist who works with an art form closely connected to environmental art (for example sculpting, architecture, landscaping or lighting).  The artist is also required to show sufficient level of language skills and a genuine will to learn and develop his art in close cooperation with others. The visiting artists should be active and also demanding and he/she is expected to take initiatives also during the concrete exchange period. The value of these learning experiences is two-sided, the artists learn from each other and the visited environment.  

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. These pages reflect the views only of the authors; The Commission is not responsible for the information presented within these pages.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 September 2008 )
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