Joseph Kosuth
A Short His­to­ry of My Thought’

7th October – 25th November 2017
Anna Schwartz Gallery

In the 1960s, when his prac­tice as an artist began, Joseph Kosuth was one of the lead­ing pio­neers of a move­ment that would alter the tra­jec­to­ry of mod­ern art. Free­ing the form of art from its reliance on the pure­ly visu­al, his intro­duc­tion of lan­guage into site-spe­cif­ic instal­la­tions opened up new chan­nels, through which to explore the rela­tion­ship between ideas and their phys­i­cal expres­sion with a result that we under­stand bet­ter how mean­ing is con­struct­ed. The rigour and acu­ity with which he has explored the mak­ing of mean­ing itself has gone on to influ­ence gen­er­a­tions to fol­low. Over the decades, Kosuth has nev­er ceased prob­ing the capac­i­ty of art to cut through to the essen­tial ques­tions of exis­tence. This sur­vey of his con­tin­u­ing prac­tice is tes­ta­ment to a lega­cy that still alters the way we see things today.

Kosuth’s pair­ings of high-mind­ed con­tent with com­mon mate­ri­als have a hyper­sat­u­rat­ing, desta­bi­liz­ing effect that elim­i­nates hier­ar­chies… a vir­tu­al ambush of infor­ma­tion through which mean­ing is even­tu­al­ly, hope­ful­ly, dis­tilled.” Anne Prent­nieks, Art Forum, 2015

Joseph Kosuth is one of the pio­neers of Con­cep­tu­al art and instal­la­tion art, ini­ti­at­ing lan­guage based works and appro­pri­a­tion strate­gies in the 1960s. His work has con­sis­tent­ly explored the pro­duc­tion and role of lan­guage and mean­ing with­in art. His more than forty year inquiry into the rela­tion of lan­guage to art has tak­en the form of instal­la­tions, muse­um exhi­bi­tions, pub­lic com­mis­sions and pub­li­ca­tions through­out Europe, the Amer­i­c­as and Asia, includ­ing sev­en Documenta(s) and nine Venice Biennale(s), one of which was pre­sent­ed in the Hun­gar­i­an Pavil­ion (1993). Awards include the Bran­deis Award, 1990, Fred­er­ick Weis­man Award, 1991, the Men­zione d’Onore at the Venice Bien­nale, 1993, and the Cheva­lier de l’ordre des Arts et des Let­tres from the French gov­ern­ment in 1993. He received a Cas­san­dra Foun­da­tion Grant in 1968. In June 1999, a 3.00 franc postage stamp was issued by the French Gov­ern­ment in hon­our of his work in Figeac. In Feb­ru­ary 2001, he received the Lau­ra Hon­oris Causa, doc­tor­ate in Phi­los­o­phy and Let­ters from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bologna. In 2001 his nov­el, Pur­loined’ was pub­lished by Salon Ver­lag, Cologne. In Octo­ber 2003 he received the Aus­tri­an Republic’s high­est hon­our for accom­plish­ments in sci­ence and cul­ture, the Dec­o­ra­tion of Hon­our in Gold for ser­vices to the Repub­lic of Austria.

Kosuth’s work enti­tled ni apparence ni illu­sion opened at the Musee du Lou­vre, Paris in 2009 and became a per­ma­nent instal­la­tion in 2014. This work was recent­ly installed in the new loca­tion of the Hall Charles V in the Lou­vre. His com­mis­sion to cre­ate a work for the façade of the Coun­cil of State at The Hague was unveiled in 2011. In 2012 Kosuth received la classe des Arts de l’Académie Royale from the Académie Royale Sci­ences des Let­tres et des Beaux-Arts of Bel­gium. In 2015 the Insti­tu­to Supe­ri­or de Arte, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Havana, award­ed him an Hon­oris Causa doc­tor­ate, pre­sent­ed dur­ing the 12th Havana Art Bien­ni­al where he exhib­it­ed an exten­sive instal­la­tion at the Bib­liote­ca Nacional. Also in 2015 Kosuth revealed A Mon­u­ment of Mines, a major site-spe­cif­ic instal­la­tion for the new cul­tur­al cen­ter in Kongs­berg, Nor­way. Kosuth recent­ly unveiled One Field to the Next’ a per­ma­nent work at the Taipei Main Sta­tion. Kosuth is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a new pub­lic com­mis­sion at the Mia­mi Beach Con­ven­tion Cen­tre and a pub­licly fund­ed com­mis­sion for a land­marked civic build­ing in the Unit­ed States, on the façade of the Bill Gra­ham Civic Audi­to­ri­um in San Francisco.

Born in Tole­do, Ohio, 1945. Edu­cat­ed at the Cleve­land Insti­tute of Art, 1963 – 64; The School of Visu­al Arts, New York City, 1965 – 67; New School for Social Research, New York, (anthro­pol­o­gy and phi­los­o­phy) 1971 – 72; Depart­ment of Fine Art, The School of Visu­al Arts, New York City 1967 – 1985; Pro­fes­sor at the Hochschule für Bildende Kün­ste, Ham­burg, 1988 – 90; Staatliche Akademie der Bildende Kün­ste, Stuttgart, 1991 – 1997; and the Kun­stakademie Munich, 2001 – 2006. Kosuth has func­tioned as vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor and guest lec­tur­er at var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties and insti­tu­tions for near­ly forty years, some of which include: Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty, New York Uni­ver­si­ty, Duke Uni­ver­si­ty, UCLA, Cal Arts, Coop­er Union, Pratt Insti­tute, The Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, New York, Art Insti­tute of Chica­go, Roy­al Acad­e­my, Copen­hagen, Ash­molean Muse­um, Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­si­ty of Rome, Berlin Kun­stakademie, Roy­al Col­lege of Art, Lon­don, Glas­gow School of Art, The Hay­ward Gallery, Lon­don, The Sor­bonne, Paris, The Sig­mund Freud Muse­um, Vien­na. Present­ly he holds the endowed Mil­lard Chair at Gold­smiths, Depart­ment of Fine Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don. Joseph Kosuth lives and works in Lon­don and New York City.

A Short His­to­ry of My Thought’ is pre­sent­ed in asso­ci­a­tion with Mel­bourne Festival.

Instal­la­tion pho­tog­ra­phy: Zan Wimberley.

Images

Joseph Kosuth

J.J. (F.W. #35)’, 2012
Warm white neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
65.7464.8 cm

Joseph Kosuth

The Para­dox of Con­tent #6’ [Vio­let], 2009
Vio­let neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
168167 cm

Joseph Kosuth

Dou­ble Read­ing #12, 1993
Silkscreen on lam­i­nat­ed glass, white neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
75152.5 cm (over­all)

Joseph Kosuth

A Con­di­tion­ing of Consciousness’, 1988
blue neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall, black & white photograph
250194 cm

Joseph Kosuth

Neon’, 1965
white neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
1240 cm
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Joseph Kosuth

A/C (J.J.:F.W.)’, 2011
Warm white neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
16125 cm

Joseph Kosuth

Self-Defined Object’ [Orange], 1966
orange neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
10173 cm

Joseph Kosuth

The Para­dox of Con­tent #4’ [Orange], 2009
Orange neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
243164 cm

Joseph Kosuth

Mondrian’s Work XI, 2015
silkscreen on glass, white neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
200200 cm
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Joseph Kosuth

Dou­ble Ref­er­ence #1’ [Vio­let], 2007
Vio­let neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
28231 cm

Joseph Kosuth

L.W.’s Last Word’ [Pink], 1991
Pink neon mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
75245 cm

Joseph Kosuth

‘(Wait­ing for-) Texts for Noth­ing #5, 2010
Warm white neon, dipped in matt black, mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
17.5422.5 cm

Joseph Kosuth

‘(Wait­ing for-) Texts for Noth­ing #8, 2010
Warm white neon, dipped in matt black, mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
17.5104 cm

Joseph Kosuth

‘(Wait­ing for-) Texts for Noth­ing #6, 2010
warm white neon, dipped in matt black, mount­ed direct­ly on the wall
17.5245 cm