Sculpture In The Expanded Field by Rosalind Kraus

Rosalind Kraus’s essay titled Sculpture in the Expanded Field was written in 1979. The essay looks at different artists and how they are, in one way or another, part of the sculpture. The meaning of sculpture has changed over time – what is considered as sculpture today is very different to what was considered sculpture 100 years ago. She writes at the beginning of her essay that the way in which sculpture has developed shows how ‘a cultural term can be extended to include just about anything’ (p30). I think that this is really important for me to think about within my own work. To look at my installations as sculptures and not just as installed piece of work.

Her references to Mary Miss’ piece of work Perimeters/Pavilions/Decoys (1978) shows how the term sculpture has been bent and that the piece could be more precisely described as being an earthwork. I like this term earthwork – it feels like there is a more direction connection between the artistic creation and natural environment.

Mary Miss’s 1977–1978 Perimeters/Pavilions/Decoys – SOCKS

She then starts to go into this idea of sculpture as non-architecture – ‘in logic another way of expressing the term landscape’ – and non-landscape being architecture.


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It becomes more complicated when she categorises non-landscape and non-architecture work with the term neuter and the opposite of neuter called the complex – this is work that is both landscape and architecture.


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Labyrinth and Japanese Gardens are part of the complex. They were part of a cultural space in which sculpture was another part of it – not somehow in the same – as our historical theory would think it to be. This is because their purposes and pleasures are opposite.

She then looks further into the construction and structures of a work. I think the diagram below is really fascinating. You can see how

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I have been trying to think where I stand within these terms – or at least where sound art/audiovisual and installation art stands within the diagram. Installation as sculpture but site specific constructions? I think I need to think more about where my artwork sits.


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