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Can’t you see it is mine? A consideration of the appropriation of space through the use of building materials (earth, clay and bricks) in art making.

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The purpose of this dissertation is to consider the extent to which the materiality of an artist’s art making materials can demonstrate an appropriation of the space in which the work is exhibited. The specific medium I have considered is the use of earth, clay and/or bricks. The dissertation concentrates on artworks that are exhibited as installations. The research into this question considers particularly in what ways might artists appropriate the space purely through the use of their choice of materials. Is the appropriation dependent only upon the nature of the work, or does the materiality of the medium constitute an overt appropriation of a gallery space in which the artwork is exhibited? The dissertation examines and explores these issues through the application of research-led methodology and the consequential influence and application of the results of the practice-led research on my own work. In the course of considering this influence, this dissertation explores specific works by Dineo Bopape, Antony Gormley’s Field Series, Walter de Maria’s New York Earth Room, Jorge Mendez Blake’s The Castle and Charles Simonds’ New York Dwellings, all of whom have used earth, clay and/or bricks in their work. The dissertation includes a series of photographs and a video of the installation entitled somewhere between heaven and hell which forms the practical offering of this project. I conclude that while the materials contribute to the environment, it is the overall effect (the environment and atmosphere) of the installation that creates an appropriation for the viewer.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.