What is Site-Specific Art ?


The term Site-specific refers to an artist's intervention in a specific place, creating a work that is integrated with its surroundings and explores its relationship to the topographical, historical and cultural significance of the site.

After hosting Sculpture in the Vineyards over the past 9 years, Jane and Peter Hamshere of Undercliff Wines have developed a keen eye for works which are sensitive to the environment and in particlar those that sit in harmony the beauty of their Undercliff vineyard.

In its largest sense, the term Site-Specific Art applies to a work made by an artist in the landscape either by radically altering the terrain to produce an “earthwork” or by creating ephemeral or removable tableaux along particular pathways so the terrain is not permanently altered, such as Christo's famous fabric walls, fabric wrapped cliffs and islands.

The term also applies to an environmental installation or a sculpture created especially for a particular gallery space or public site. This approach has great examples by such artists as Joseph Beuys and Dan Flavin. No matter which approach an artist takes, site-specific art is meant to become part of its locale and to restructure the viewer’s conceptual and perceptual experience through the artist's intervention.

SINV Site Specific Art Award Guidelines:

A site-specific artwork or installation takes the location into account in planning and creating an artwork, and explores themes and relationships with the surroundings. It is largely created on-site and in most cases a pre-assembled sculpture won’t be considered site-specific.

These works will last for the duration of the exhibition and may do one or more of the following:

• integrate into the physical aspects of the site;
• relate or respond to specific horticultural practices of the site;
• relate or respond to native or introduced flora or fauna of the site;
• relate or respond to the Indigenous, colonial, or recent history of the site or the area in general;
• use unusual or non-traditional materials;
• change over time and with weather conditions – but not disintegrate;
• be created on or around something pre-existing on the site i.e. fence, tree, wall, pond, path etc. in a manner that becomes integral to the artwork.
This invitation to artists to consider the environment in a thoughtful and integrated manner is a great opportunity for them to engage with space and time in ways they may not ordinarily have the chance. This approach fosters innovation in materials as well as the conceptual drive behind the works and will provide visitors to the exhibition with a unique and memorable experience.