Joseph Kosuth, born 1945 in Toledo, Ohio, lives and works in Rome and New York. Kosuth - one of the pioneers of conceptual art - has, since the 60s, consistently explored the production and role of meaning within art using appropriation strategies and language-based works. His inquiry into the relation of language to art has utilized texts from a diverse variety of sources including dictionary definitions, the Rosetta Stone, the writings of Freud and Wittgenstein, the cartoon Calvin & Hobbes, and in his recent projects, literary sources by Thomas Mann, Italo Svevo, and Franz Kafka.
L´essence de la rhétorique... 1998 From the portfolio Sequences [L´essence de la rhétorique est dans l´allégorie IV ] Three-part aquatint and heliogravure on Rives BFK rag paper. Each print 40 x 50 cm (15¾ x 19¾"), signed and numbered on third print. Edition of 60.
These three heliogravures quote a René Magritte painting, "L´apparition" 1928, in which amorphous elements are a repeated motif. These "clouds of language" contain the major concepts of Michel Foucault´s essay Ceci n´est pas une pipe of 1973, in which the French philosopher investigated the semiotic character of Magritte´s word pictures. Kosuth has described his projects as investigations which examine the conceptual and representational shifts between the identity of words and the reality of things.
Sigla, Finnegans Wake 1998 From Wall Works Warm white neon on a black painted wall; configuration of the neon signs variable. Signs approximately 12 x 12 x 4 cm (5 x 5 x 1½ "); installation size according to the wall. Limited to 12 installations, with a signed and numbered certificate.
The wall work Sigla, Finnegans Wake is one of several Joyce-based Kosuth works - others include an immense installation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and permanent installations in Tokyo and Lyon. For Sigla, Kosuth has made white neon "text" after the sigla (signs) Joyce used in his seminal 1923 work Finnegans Wake to designate characters and their identities. These luminous signals are to be configured freely on a black wall, suggesting a starry night sky.
The Criterion Of The Real 2009 From the portfolio Forty Are Better Than One Double sided 10-part leporello, embossing/ debossing on Gmund Colors 21 paper, 32 x 250 cm (12½ x 98½ in). Edition: 75, signed and numbered on label on archival sleeve.