Attitude toward public sculpture as a group dynamic process adaptation of the Kurt Lewin's force field concept into art theory

  • Krzysztof Krzysztof

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Would contemporary sculpture in the public space evoke a certain kind of a group dynamic processes? The thesis is dedicated to the role and perception of the sculpture in the public space. Considering existing theories on the concept of public space (Habermas, Popper, Kołakowski, Hansen, Le Bon) and the role of sculpture in it (Groys, Miles, Lunaczarski, Krauss, Kobro, Strzemiński), as well as selected case studies in different cultural contexts (Serra, Hasior), a need was identified for a new theoretical concept: a sculpture as an element of public space evoking a group dynamic process. The author adapts Kurt Lewin’s concept of the force field in group dynamics and other proven and widely recognised psychological concepts as a theoretical basis to measure an impact of a sculpture on its audience. The construction of a new method is described; its applicability is examined in pilot studies on selected sculptures in Poland and Northern Ireland. It allows to measure two aspects of the attitudes toward sculptures: cognitive and emotional (aspect of defensiveness). The third, behavioural aspect is concluded from phenomena observed in the research and interviews with sculptors and representatives of the authorities in Poland and Northern Ireland. The main study, which was conducted in Northern Ireland (Londonderry) and Poland (Nowa Huta), examines the relationship to sculptures three times during a period of time after erecting the sculptures. In closing, the author tries to answer the question: would contemporary sculpture in the public space evoke a certain kind of group dynamic process? In the conclusions, the doubts are considered and new research directions are indicated.
Date of AwardApr 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRalf Sander (Supervisor), Robert Connolly (Supervisor) & Alastair Herron (Supervisor)


  • Public Space
  • Sculpture
  • Group Dynamics
  • Attitude

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