Out of all the different types of art forms we write about on a daily basis, there's one that clearly stands apart from the rest: installation art. According to Merriam-Webster, an installation is defined as “a work of art that usually consists of multiple components often in mixed media and that is exhibited in a usually large space in an arrangement specified by the artist.”
Why do we love installation art? For many reasons. First, it's oftentimes immersive, providing visitors with a multi-sensory experience. Next, it's usually site-specific, meaning that the art installation was built for a particular time and space. Finally, it's highly imaginative, as it brings several different materials together to create something original and unexpected.
Here, we take a look at the most stunning art installations that were exhibited around the world in 2013. If you were lucky enough, you may have experienced one or a few of these artworks first-hand!
Top Pieces of Installation Art in 2013
10. Colorful Canopies of Umbrellas by Sextafeira Produes
In July, the city of Agueda, Portugal came alive as colorful canopies of umbrellas appeared above its streets. Production company Sextafeira Produes had created the cheery installation to turn traditional shopping streets into an engaging visual experience.
Photographer Patrcia Almeida took great shots of a similar installation art piece last year, which went viral. This was part of an art festival called AgitÁgueda.
9. From the Knees of My Nose to the Belly of My Toes by Alex Chinneck
From the Knees of My Nose to the Belly of My Toes is a surreal display by British designer Alex Chinneck that makes it look like the brick façade is sliding right off the front of a building in Margate, England. The eye-catching installation—which took Chinneck approximately one year to bring to fruition—transformed an abandoned, four-story residence by replacing the old frontage with a new one that slumps down and curves outward.
8. The Fallen by Andy Moss and Jamie Wardley
British artists Andy Moss and Jamie Wardley of Sand In Your Eye produced this incredibly powerful visual display at the D-Day landing beach of Arromanche in France. The two developed this concept, entitled The Fallen, in honor of International Peace Day (September 21), as a reminder of what happens in the absence of that peace.
7. Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny Park
At the Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas, visitors were immersed in a shimmering world of light, shadow, and color. Called Unwoven Light, this hovering sculpture by artist Soo Sunny Park was made of chainlink fencing and Plexiglas. It invited visitors to enter the space in order to observe how natural and artificial light change when viewed at a certain angle or at different times of the day.
6. Sirens of the Lambs by Banksy
Leave it to Banksy to mix the cute and the cuddly with the totally disturbing. In the 11th work of his Better Out Than In exhibit that occured on the streets of New York, the British artist took over a delivery truck and turned it into a slaughterhouse installation. Sixty plush puppets of cows, chickens, pigs, lambs were seen moving their heads through wooden slats.
5. Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home by Do Ho Suh
In 2013, at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul, you could find Do Ho Suh‘s Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home, a 1:1 scale replica of two houses the artist has previously lived in. Created in purple fabric, his traditional Korean home (where he lived in when he was a child) was enveloped and suspended within a more modern building (his first apartment building when he came to the United States in Providence, Rhode Island).
4. In Orbit by Tomas Saraceno
In Orbit—Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno‘s largest and most ambitious piece of installation art to date—featured a huge mesh construction suspended above the piazza of the K21 Standehaus museum in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Visitors were able to climb on the gigantic steel wire construction, which spanned three levels and measured 25 meters. The mesh net alone weighed three tons and there were a half a dozen “spheres” or inflated PVC balloons positioned within it.
3. Forever Bicycles by Ai Weiwei
This year, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei presented a new version of his incredible Forever Bicycles installation in Toronto. As the centerpiece of this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, an all-night contemporary art event that takes over city streets, 3,144 bicycles were stacked 100 feet in length and 30 feet in height and depth in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square.
2. Rain Room by Random International
Rain Room, by London and Berlin-based collective Random International, allowed you to experience the rain without getting wet! First shown at Barbican Centre from October 2012 to this March, it came to New York, housed in a temporary gallery next door to the MoMA museum. This was the monumental installation's US debut.
Of all these memorable art installations, which is number 1?
1. Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away by Yayoi Kusama
In Yayoi Kusama‘s Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, hundreds of multicolored LED lights, suspended at different heights and dangling from floor to ceiling, transformed a room into what feels like eternity.
The cube-shaped, mirror-paneled room had a shallow reflecting pool as its floor, and the lights flickered on and off in a strobe-like effect. Though similar to those Yayoi Kusama has shown previously, like Infinity Mirror Room at the Tate Modern and Fireflies on the Water at the Whitney Museum of Art, this one was made especially for the exhibition at David Zwirner gallery and still promised the viewer a wonderfully surreal experience.
This post has been updated.