The public environment of human being is a stage of activity which is in the image of the social group tribe, and it is a human living environment which has a great relationship with the landscape, race, culture and ecology. Considering and treating the public environment from the angle of art is an important aspect of human beings optimizing their living condition and optimizing their own situation. Looking back at the development of social history, we can read about the development of environmental art and public art.
If public`s meaning in the term of public art is only in the sense of “group”, almost all art has this kind of public nature. To explore it in the spatial sense, then, is an attempt to define public art. All public art is called public art because it exists first in public spaces, that is, it must exist spatially in a public way, even if a sculpture is used by a sculptor in a public place, if it was placed in private space before it was finished, it would be a private work of art, not a public art. One exception, of course, is that private space can, in some cases, be transformed into public space, albeit temporarily. Thus, the concept of public is also spatially variable. One of the simplest examples is that the same sculpture works are placed in private spaces and in public spaces, and their properties are inconsistent. In private spaces, we cannot call it public art. By this definition, all works of art placed in public spaces can be counted as public art. The problem, however, is that the meaning of the word public changes over time as it evolves over time. For example, because of the change in ownership of ancient private or imperial gardens and castles, a large part of them is open to the public nowadays, and the expansion of the audience has transformed the art of gardening from being dedicated to private families and royalty to having a public character. This kind of art, which used to belong to only a certain class, is truly universal today. As it turns out, public space can be changed.
Space is a relatively philosophical term, relative to time. Public space is an important part of urban space. According to Andres Schneider et al. Public space can be divided by several different levels: 1. Physical public spaces, 2. The public spaces of society, 3. Symbolic public spaces. The first concerns the existence of its material, the second focuses on the relationship between the internal norms of space and society, and the third focuses on memorials and the “atmosphere” of the place. They believe that every public space, whether objective or subjective, can be defined by one or more of the meanings of these definitions, understanding the meaning of public space changes the way we think about public space. It should be noted that, while we are willing to consider the three types of public spaces that are well positioned as three different types, each public space incorporates one or more of these types. Physical public spaces such as streets, squares, meadows, beaches, etc. can be formed through urban design. Social and public spaces such as coffee rooms, restaurants, bars and other forms of media, the internet and private housing. The physical public space is the most obvious, arguably the most romantic… it is determined by the type of ownership that is connected to the building and the “natural environment”.
The social commons is one of the most interesting of the three forms, because it has the potential to transform or reestablish ownership and give new meaning to urban space. The social commons is in constant re-definition, through which conflicts of use value and exchange value can be accomplished in a real place. Symbolic space is accomplished through norms and the collective memory of people, because contrary to the material in the physical public space, this form of determining public space is difficult to classify as a “physical place”. In most cases, symbolic public space is a short-term survival experience and is limited to a certain group of people. If symbolic space becomes part of the general history, it is vulnerable to a transformation in which the meaning and connection of this space begin to be linked to a current prevailing historical method. This is enough to explain why our prehistoric rock paintings, carvings, religious art, and tomb art can be classified as public art today, art that can be seen as public art in a symbolic public space.
There is variability in social space, which can be transposed between public and private. Thus, the public spaces we explore touch on a wider range of arts that can be attributed to public spaces, but on an spatial level, the public art space can include the physical public space, the social public space and the symbolic public space, which together constitute the external existence of public art in information age.
The public and private nature of space are mutually reinforcing and symbiotic, and absolute public spaces cannot exist without absolute private space, in the absence of open and free public spaces, there can be no secret and safe private spaces.
Cities are a way of human existence, and they cannot be separated from the people who choose to live in cities. The city is used by the people and by the citizens, which is the difference between urban and rural farmers. The Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens points out that the establishment of civil society is directly linked to the emergence of modern forms of the state and is therefore linked to it in terms of reference. In traditional countries, most everyday life, at least in the countryside, is outside the executive power of the home. Most local communities are self-governing in accordance with their traditional customs and lifestyles, and the executive is less intrusive in most forms of private activity. However, this outer sphere is not a civil society.
In fact, purely abstract urban public spaces do not exist, and each type of urban public space ends up in a different place, a public place, with different social activities. Each kind of place forms different spirit of place, they are closely related with its geographical position, social function and place function. It can be roughly divided into the following categories: 1. Political venues such as Government Buildings, town hall, courts and government agencies; 2. Cultural public places such as schools, museums, art galleries, research institutes, historical sites and so on; 3. Commercial public places, including commercial streets, commercial cities, etc. 4. General public places such as railway stations, wharves, airports, subways, squares, streets, etc. 5. Recreational public places such as plazas, theme parks, green spaces, teahouses, cafes, sports, etc. The nature and function of these places determine the nature and function of the public space, and also determine the spirit of the place. But overall, it is the history, culture, and modern social consciousness of the large public spaces in which these places are located. I would therefore prefer to see these sites as differences in the functions of space in different cities and communities.
Fundamentally, the public way of public art relies not on the style and genre of art, but on the spatial spirit of a collective or a group, it is the external condition of the human beings to transform their living environment. While human history and culture determine the characteristics of public art, public art, in turn, directly or subtly influences and modifies the cultural concept and aesthetic mode of human beings.
In general, the greatest feature of public space is openness, the openness of the place of public space art activities and the resulting openness to the public at the site. It is open to all audiences in this space, and the public can communicate with it and make suggestions. In a certain sense, the openness of public art lies in the openness of the space in which it operates, and requires the public to make recommendations and opinions on it once it has been made public, public art management agencies and production agencies can evaluate and amend public art works. Public art is a kind of special social esthetic, its standard must be in being read and corrected. Public art is an artistic landscape of various media, facilities and other art forms that are publicly displayed, it differs from the non-public nature of the private sphere in general, the non-public nature of a minority or individual group. “public” in public art is aimed at the large environment in which people and people live, including the natural ecological environment and the humane and social environment. In a broader sense, human society can be understood as a mosaic in a natural ecosystem.
Public art in china
Since the 1980s, china has also attached great importance to the construction of public art in the process of urban construction and development, but what is missing is that, first of all, Chinese governments confuse urban sculpture with the concept of public art, second, the management of public art is not given to the people, but to government organizations such as the city sculpture management association, which is set up by the government, the government selects sculptors and urban landscape artists to build sculptures for urban landmarks, which often end up as simple ideologically expressive entities, associated with poor symbolism as an aesthetic urban landmark and symbol, and even a perverted convenience for voyeurs in the name of art; when the government changes, for a variety of reasons, the original city sculptures may have been pushed back, as if the demolition of old buildings was generally undemocratic, and no one had the creative rights, the right to speak and the right to protect, they don’t seem to have anything to do with the value of intellectual property or copyright. The existence of these problems and the reality of china, including the weak sense of democracy of the people, the unsound legal system, some biases in local government’s perception of art, and the lack of support for public art in tax policies, there is a relationship that is hard to fathom.
Public art is not just a sculpture, or a static visual representation in general, but it is often through acts, events, and the construction of platforms where people interact, so that people can have a dialogue that allows them to be heard. This is precisely the channel and the possibility of providing diversity for social democracy and community governance. Much of Chinese public art appeals to external visual publicity, but not enough in terms of the deep involvement of community life and respect for the people.