Site-Relevant Art: Post 20th Century Considerations of Site Specificity

Doctorate other than PhD

Guerin, Johanna. 2023. Site-Relevant Art: Post 20th Century Considerations of Site Specificity. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Site-Relevant Art: Post 20th Century Considerations of Site Specificity

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorsGuerin, Johanna
1. FirstDr David Akenson
2. SecondA/Pr Kyle Jenkins
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages301
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Historically, Site-specific art has been understood as a form of practice that challenges the notion of autonomy (or the separation of the object from the site) in which it is located, emphasising the interdependence of object and site. Towards the end of the 20th century, this interdependence began to expand to include the artist, artwork, site, and audience more overtly. These relationships reflect the human need for groundedness, to create a sense of belonging during times of upheaval; and the effects of capitalism, globalisation, and migration, forced or otherwise. If art is a commentary on society, then Site-specific art reflects a societal need for stability, to retain the identity of individuals and communities. As such, the identity of Site-specific art needs to be retained, while other works that do not generate the inherent relationship between artists, artwork, site, and audience, are identified in terms that better define what they are. The purpose of this research is to propose new considerations of the relationship of artist with site as a means of preserving the integrity of Site-specific art, but also, as will be argued, through the introduction of my term ’Site-relevant’,1 to capture works that exceed the limitations placed on our understanding of site. The original term that I offer to the discourse, ‘Site-relevant’, is intended to capture artworks that have a relationship with a specific site, outside of the ideal gallery space. These Site-relevant works can be relocated without compromising the artwork or conceptual intent.

This PhD is accompanied by two Site-specific artworks, and two Site-relevant artworks. I have made these works as a response to the research regarding the misapplication and overuse of the term ‘Site-specific’ in the discourse related to site-based artwork. I do not seek to ignore or deny the conceptual and historical significance of Site-specific works, or the contribution of other site-based artworks. Rather, my term ‘Site-relevant’ is intended to be an additional classification to the post 20th century discourse of installation art practice which aims to better describe artworks that are miscategorised as Site-specific.

KeywordsSite-specific; Conceptual; Contemporary; Visual art; Post 20th Century; Site-relevant
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390101. Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy
369999. Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Creative Arts
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