Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Joseph Kosuth

Kosuth is an American Conceptual artist who's work portrays a high sense of 'objectivity' which is integral to the art's meaning. This tends to be a consistent theme throughout his work, with the main response to be the questioning of 'art' itself.
Above is the work entitled 'One and three chairs', where a physical chair sits alongside an enlarged photo of the physical chair, alongside the dictionary definition of 'a chair'.

"Perhaps all three are chairs, or codes for one: a visual code, a verbal code, and a code in the language of objects, that is, a chair of wood. But isn't this last chair simply . . . a chair? Or, as Marcel Duchamp asked in his Bicycle Wheel of 1913, does the inclusion of an object in an artwork somehow change it?"

Predominantly questioning the 'nature of things', Kosuth's work also extends rather unsurprisingly into the realms of language and semiotics, as highlighted in Four Colours, Four Words.'

In 'Art After Philosophy', Kosuth tries to explain this objective formality that is often used to term 'art'.

"The 'value' of particular artists after Duchamp can be weighed according to how much they questioned the nature of art."

He continues, "Being an artist now means to question the nature of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art. If an artist accepts painting (or sculpture) he is accepting the tradition that goes with it. That’s because the word art is general and the word painting is specific. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning) the nature of art. One is then accepting the nature of art to be the European tradition of a painting-sculpture dichotomy."

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