Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Space invaders

Palais de Tokyo in Paris must be up there as one of the biggest contemporary art spaces in the world. Who knows how many thousands of square meters it covers, possibly no one. Who could be surprised then when most of the work it shows is of the installation art kind. The pressure on artists to fill these jaw dropping spaces is extreme. What counts as a 'small' space comes in at around 150 square meters and the largest at around a thousand or more. As a visitor it's fascinating to see the strategies various artists adopt to cope with filling these sorts of areas. Here are some techniques we saw at work. Feel free to use them to fill your own large spaces.

1   Use cheap materials. Clay, paper, cardboard boxes, corrugated card and iron, tires and bricks.

2   Cover the floor with a cheap material. That clay comes in handy again and so does paint or, if you’re really low on funds, water (in sheets or puddles).

3   Install a very small work into a very large space.

4   Construct a set and decorate it with theater props

5   Use video projection on free-standing screens or the back wall of a large room

6   Project video onto floors (this seems the same as item 5 but add a balustrade – more bang for the bucks)

7   Use old school tv sets to show your video and fill up the remaining space with chairs and couches

8   Cover walls with decorative surfaces (wallpaper, newsprint, graffiti)

9   Make something large and hollow using light cheap materials (painted paper, paper mache etc)

10  Place small works on plinths widely separated from one another

11  Performance

You're welcome.

Images: some example left to right top to bottom. Light weight and hollow – Eduardo Basualdo, painted floors and walls - Michael Riedel, video on floor - Tony Ousler, small ojects large space – Julien Bismuth, cheap materials on floor - Dominique Ghesquiere, plinths – Agnieszka Kurant, large found objects and theatrical devices – Hiroshi Sugimoto