Installation art as experience of self, in space and time

Christine Vial Kayser, Sylvie Coëllier (Eds.)

by Christine Vial Kayser (Héritages UMR9022 (CNRS, CY, Ministère de la culture), France), Sylvie Coëllier (Aix-Marseille University, France), Fabrice Métais (Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, PRISM, Marseille, France), Jérôme Dussuchalle , Frédéric Herbin (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges, France / InTRu - University of Tours, France), Charlotte Serrus , Dore Bowen (San José State University), Marie-Laure Delaporte (Paris Nanterre University, France), Pascale Saarbach (Strasbourg University, France), Jacques Amblard (Aix Marseille University, France), Hyeon-Suk Kim (Paris 8 University, France / Langarts, France), Hiroshi Uemura (Kyoto University of the Arts, Japan), Hye-Jun Park (Baekseok Arts University in Seoul, Korea), Jacline Moriceau (Langarts, France), Marie Laureillard (University Lumière Lyon 2, France / Lyon’s Institute of East Asian Studies, France / Langarts, France)

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Installation art has modified our relationship to art for over fifty years by soliciting the whole body, demonstrating its sensitivity to space, surroundings, and the living beings with which it is constantly interacting. This book analyses this modification of perception through phenomenological approaches convoking Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, as well as Levinas, Depraz, and the neuroscientist Varela. This theoretical framework is implicit in the various case studies which revisit works that have become classic or emblematic by Carl Andre, Bruce Nauman, Dan Graham; inaugural experiments that remain available only through photographic and written archives by Jean-Michel Sanejouand, Philippe Parreno, as well as the influence of the mode in the realm of music. The book also examines the transference of this Western form to Asia, revealing how it resonates with ancient Asian representations and practices—often associated with the spiritual.

The distinct chapters underpin the role of space as a metaframe, the common ground of the various installations. While the nature and agency of space varies—from social, historical space, leisurely or political space, inner psychological space, to shared empty space—these installations reveal the chiasm between the individual body and the outside space. The chapters bear testimony of the process in which the physical journey of the spectator’s body within a material—at times invisible—space and its structural components takes place in time, as a succession of micro-experiences.

‘Installation art as experience of self, in space and time’ adds to the existing literature of art history a level of theoretical, experiential and transcultural analysis that will make this inquiry relevant to both university students and independent researchers in the academic fields of philosophy, psychology, aesthetics, art theory and history, religious and Asian studies.

Table of figures
Editors’ Introduction
Christine Vial Kayser
IDEMEC- CNRS-Aix Marseille University
Sylvie Coëllier
Aix-Marseille University

Part I: Conceptual frame

I.1 Installation: looking back over a history of the term, its modes of appearance and its meanings
Sylvie Coëllier
Aix-Marseille University
I.2 With a beating heart: A neuro-phenomenological approach to the experience of some installations
Christine Vial Kayser
IDEMEC- CNRS-Aix Marseille University
I.3 Experiencing the other: intersubjectivity, alterity and artistic installation
Fabrice Métais
Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, PRISM

Part II: Installation and space

II.1 Approach to Carl Andre’s sculpture as a phenomenology of space and place
Jérôme Dussuchalle

II.2 Organisations d’espaces by Jean-Michel Sanejouand
Frédéric Herbin
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges
II.3 Near and far. On Mike Kelley’s Kandors
Charlotte Serrus

Part III: Installation and time

III.1 Their porous body: on Bruce Nauman’s San Jose Installation: infrastructure, and the experience of time
Dore Bowen
San José State University
III.2 From Dan Graham’s proprioceptive installations to Jesper Just’s “post-cinema” walks
Marie-Laure Delaporte
German Centre of Art History in Paris
III.3 Ann Hamilton: The conditions of attention
Pascale Saarbach
Strasbourg University
III.4 Musical installations: problematic works
Jacques Amblard
Aix-Marseille University

Part IV: Installations and Eastern philosophy of space and time
IV.1 The sense of emptiness in the installations of Onishi Yasuaki
Kim Hyeon-suk
Paris 8 University
IV.2 Art in situ or the site as art: A Japanese reception of contemporary art
Uemura Hiroshi
Kyoto University of the Arts
IV.3 The meditative space in the sound installation of Kim Kichul
Park Hye-Jun
Baekseok Arts University in Seoul
IV.4 Ikebana as an installation in the art of Teshigahara Sōfu and Hiroshi
Jacline Moriceau
IV.5 The installations of the Chinese artist Xu Bing: the invisible space of language
Marie Laureillard
University Lumière Lyon 2

About the authors

Christine Vial Kayser (PhD, HDR) is an art historian and museum curator (emeritus) and is currently Associate Researcher with Héritages UMR9022 (CNRS). Her research relates to the phenomenology of art, and its capacity to transform representations within an individual and the collective mind, through embodied, memorial, affective processes in a global, comparative (East/West) context. Based on practical experience of museum studies, her involvement in Asian studies (through Asie-Sorbonne Association) and her interest in neurophenomenology, she works at the crossroad of art theory, anthropology and neuroaesthetics.

Sylvie Coëllier (HDR) is Professor emeritus at Aix-Marseille Université. She is specialized in sculpture and its post-1960s extensions. She is the author of a book on the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark and has published many articles concerning recent art history and emerging artists. She has edited several publications concerning installations, sculpture and performances and is chief editor for the collection ARTS of Presses Universitaires de Provence, Aix-Marseille University.

Installation art; art and phenomenology; embodied aesthetic; Asian contemporary art

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Installation art as experience of self, in space and time





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


66 B&W

Publication date

January 2022