Biography

American artist Joseph Kosuth is a pioneer of conceptualist art, known as the modern arts linguistic turn. Kosuth attended the Toledo Museum School of Design, the Cleveland Art Institute and New York School of Visual Arts. He soon abandoned painting and began making conceptual works, which were first shown in 1967 at the Museum of Normal Art. In 1969 Kosuth held his first solo exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York,  the same year he became the American editor of Art and Language.

His first conceptual work Leaning Glass (1965), consisting of an object, a photograph of it and dictionary definitions of the words denoting it. In 1966 Kosuth also embarked upon a series of works entitled Art as Idea as Idea, involving texts, through which he investigated the condition of art. The works in this series took the form of reproductions of dictionary definitions of words such as “water,” “meaning,” and “idea.”

Kosuth’s most widely known work is “One and Three Chairs” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) and “Clock” (Tate Modern, London, England). Both artworks consist of objects, the dictionary definition of the object and a photograph of the object ranging from exhibition space, in which it is placed. In the way Kosuth brings forth the play of semantics in art, and asks questions like “how the meanings of the characters are arbitrary” and “how the characters refers to linguistic phenomena” as a foundation for discussing the relationship between concept and presentation. Based on linguistic issues, Kosuth opened up a new way to analyze and understand art through signs and their arbitrary relationship to the individual. It is in light of this new policy directions have used the concept art, which questions the individual’s perception of reality.

His nearly forty-year analysis 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. He received a Cassandra Foundation Grant in 1968, being the choice of Marcel Duchamp one week before he died. In 2009, Kosuth’s exhibition Ni Apparence Ni Illusion that was an installation work placed in the 12th century walls of the Louvre palace, opened at the Musée du Louvre in Paris and became a permanent work in 2012.