The ideology of immersing yourself into a piece of art may seem a radical statement but its possible because we as beholder’s embody an artwork whether consciously knowing or not - more so evident whilst viewing installation art. Embodying an artwork and the immersive quality is more so prominent in an installation than a painting. A painting restricts what we experience. Typically, a painting will visually tell a narrative of what it is that the beholder is looking at through a pictorial space. Whereas an installation creates an immersive experience that situates the beholder within a space. The integration of beholder and space is what has aided my experimentation throughout my studies. Audience participation is a crucial element to realising my artwork. Earlier on in my studies I created a piece that referenced Eliasson's, Room For One Colour (1997). Eliasson's utilisation of colour and space has influenced a lot of my experimentation because experience is a key element of my art.
When viewing an immersive installation, the beholder participates in transition of adapting to a new environment effectively becoming one with the art. A painting does not offer the same experience as a three-dimensional form or installation due to the lack of immersion a painting can create for the beholder. As such paintings only evoke a sensory emotive experience, opposed to a physical saturation of the senses. Following from what Fried associated with Minimalist sculpture, the element of theatricality is evident within light and space art, simply because the beholder becomes immersed within a staged environment. In this instance staged meaning, the space was not created by chance but by intentionality. Even though a painting has thought behind the composition, it is quite distant in relation to the similarities between installation art and a theatre performance, especially with reference to an installation that utilises light.
Even psychologically it [light] remains one of the most fundamental and powerful of human experiences. (Arnheim, 2004)
Light’s ability to both illuminate and eliminate details regarding work and an environment works immaculately well. This is evident in both Turrell’s and Flavin’s work. Both are light artists during the Minimalist period, yet project two differing outcomes as far as the beholder is concerned. Flavin uses light as a material that physically represents the natural shape of the product, achieved by his use of fluorescent tubes, to create geometric shapes of light. Flavin, in no way, tries to disguise the light source because for him, the light is crucial. He uses it in a way that illuminates an object. On the other hand, Turrell uses light as a material that is incorporated into architecture. Unlike Flavin, Turrell’s work is evidently site-specific, and his use of light is adapted to fit the surroundings his piece is presented within. Turrell creates light infused environments that appear to be limitless, disregarding the need for physical boundaries. This phenomenon of light is created using powerful fluorescent bulbs, flooding the space, creating a heavily saturated light environment.
A term used to describe environments that use a singular pigment of light is ‘Ganzfeld’. The Ganzfeld Effect is a term used to describe works of art that manipulate the appearance of an environment using light. (Schuld, 2018) What separates the appearance of a white light lit room with an artwork that uses the Ganzfeld, is the effect created from the strength of the lighting. Blurring the space, the effect of the Ganzfeld creates a sense of illusion for the beholder. This technique creates an element of invisibility by eliminating corners, doorways and other room fixtures, creating a seemingly infinite environment. This becomes unfamiliar and for some, quite an uneasy situation for the beholder to be in.
Olafur Eliasson, is an artist who specialises in creating installation artworks aimed specifically for the beholder and their experience. Ganzfeld techniques are evident in Eliasson’s piece, Room for one Colour (1997) due to this piece having the ability to alter the beholder’s experience, ‘’installations that provoke alterations of consciousness and cast the stability of our everyday perception into doubt’’ (Bishop, 2005) and this manipulates the way the beholder understands their surroundings. Eliasson achieves this sense of confusion in Room for one Colour (1997) by altering the beholders perception via his manipulation of materials. The use of mono-frequency lamps that emit a strong yellow light into a room, upon exiting the room, the beholder experiences a new way of perceiving. The beholder momentarily perceives a black and white visual perspective-experience immediately after leaving the room. A term that supports this type of visual transformation is, ‘shifted perception’. This causes the viewer to believe in a visual representation that depicts an altered or manipulated view of the space they’re in. (White, 2006).