Spatial Practices in Contemporary Art


1) To understand the processes through which the problematization of space became a crosscutting subject in contemporary art.
2) Taking as a reference the approach to three-dimensionality, to recognize the connections between the first avant-gardes legacy and contemporary art practices.
3) To acknowledge the main developments that, in the scope of spatial experimentation, determined the second half of 20th century artistic production.
4) To address contemporary art on a perspective that benefits from the analyses of several current trends of articulation between art and space.
5) To apply the acquired knowledge and to develop critical skills through the discussion of selected theoretical texts and the development of a short essay.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





ALVES, M. B. (2012), O Espaço na Criação Artística do Século XX. Heterogeneidade, Tridimensionalidade, Performatividade. Lisboa: Colibri
BISHOP, C. (2005), Installation Art. A Critical History. London: Tate Publishing
BRUNO, G. (2002), Atlas of Emotion. Journeys in Art, Architecture and Film. New York: Verso
KELLEY, J., ed. (1993), Allan Kaprow. Essays on the blurring of Art and Life. Berkeley / Los Angeles / London: University of California Press
KRAUSS, R. (1977), Passages in Modern Sculpture, Cambridge / Massachusetts: The MIT Press
KWON, M. (2002), One Place after another. Site Specific Art and Locational Identity, Cambridge / Massachusetts: The MIT Press
MEYER, J., ed. (2000), Minimalism. London / New York: Phaidon Press
RENDELL, J. (2006), Art and Architecture. A place between. New York: I. B. Tauris

Teaching method

This curricular unit is based on sessions that regularly combine an exposition component and a group debate that addresses each topic of the programme. The aim of this methodology is to deepen and consolidate the acquired knowledge and ensure the students critical and active involvement in the discussion of referential texts previously selected by the teacher.

Evaluation method

The final evaluation is based both on the students performance concerning the preparation and participation in the regular class debates (30%), and on the development of an individual final essay (70%).

Subject matter

1) The binomial art/life and the approach to space as an heterogeneous element.
2) From sculpture to three-dimensionality: The first avant-gardes legacy. Lissitzky´s Proun and Kurt Schwitter´s Merzbau.
3) New Sculpture and Anthony Caro´s contribution.
4) Minimalism and Theatricality.
5) Spatiality and Performativity: Happenings and Environments.
6) Specificity and Institutional Critique. Land Art.
8) Constructions: between Art and Architecture. Gordon Matta Clark´s “anarchitecture”.
9) Space, Public Art and Relational Practices.
10) Space, Place and Dwelling.