The Installation is a three-dimensional work of art that is usually expansive, site-specific and often site- or situation-specific. The term, which has been in use with regard to art since the late 1970s, is now also applied to earlier space-expanding productions.
A starting point for this artistic form of presentation is - similar to the environment of the 1950s and 1960s - a spiritual or conceptual approach. In contrast to the environment, whose point of departure was often an examination of the everyday world and the world of commodities, the installation, however, does not as a rule aim at a narrative spatial staging, as can be found, for example, in the works of Edward Kienholz.
Related to intervention and land art, installation is predominantly a three-dimensional, spatial art form in indoor and outdoor spaces and allows the use of any material, as well as time, light, sound and movement in space - see light art, sound art, media art and kinetics.
Installations are regularly shown at major group exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale and the documenta in Kassel.
Art history today considers the first installations in the aforementioned sense to be spatial designs and concepts from the first half of the 20th century. These include, for example, the staging of Piet Mondrian's studio (1921-1936, Paris, Montparnasse, rue du Départ), which has since been demolished, El Lissitzky's Prounen Room (1923) and his Cabinet of the Abstract (1928), as well as the round room in the Musée de l'Orangerie (1927, Paris), which was specially designed for Claude Monet's large-scale water lily paintings. More direct predecessors of today's installations are Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau (1923-1936/37, Hanover), destroyed during the Second World War, and Oskar Schlemmer's unrealised Lackkabinett (1940). In 1963, Galerie Parnass showed Wolf Vostell's installation cycle Das schwarze Zimmer (The Black Room) from 1958 for the first time.