Sometimes art is a painting, and sometimes it’s a chair. In Conceptual Art, the idea is more important than the form.
Conceptual art, sometimes referred to as Conceptualism, is the art of planning and documenting ideas and is not reliant upon the artist ever producing a finished work.
As artist Sol LeWitt said, “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”
The first time I encountered this type of work, I was walking through a gallery and in an empty room, I found a mop. The mop wasn’t anything special, it looked well-used and it was currently placed inside a bucket in the far corner. It was a confusing site and most (including myself) thought it was a room being prepared for a future installation or exhibit. I would later find out that the mop was a piece of a larger concept; those who walked in the room were photographed interacting with the mop and their actions were later compiled into a large photo collage. The photographs and final collage were not the end-goal for the artist, the end-goal was the idea of putting a mop in an empty room in order to see how others reacted with the mop.
Still a little confused? Watch the fascinating and informative video below and learn about some of the artists who have embraced the style: