As one of the main actors and definers of Conceptual Art since the mid 1960s, Joseph Kosuth works within the field of art to make meaning. His matter is the cosa mentale and how to convey his investigations to the audience utilising words, texts, images, ideas. Manifestations range from glass, photography, printing, neon installations, wallpaper, to real objects, exhibition curating or language. Representation, appropriation, quotation, site specific architectural interventions, writing and teaching are amongst the devices he works with. He ceaselessly questions the context, cultural history and contemporaneity through public art, sculptures and statements that challenge any anti-intellectual status quo and seek to involve the viewer/reader’s body and mind.
From 1965, Kosuth studied art in New York, punctuated by major dialogues with the likes of Ad Reinhardt, and, on one occasion, support from Marcel Duchamp just before he died, which led him to develop his critical stance on modernism, formalism and the traditional gravitas given to painting and sculpture. He also researched and practiced other disciplines such as anthropology and philosophy. His famous proposition is that of “Art as Idea as Idea” – a concept still central in the exhibition “absence-presence, twice”. The question of visibility and artistic production is repeated carrying countless layers of significance. Kosuth’s art is fundamentally concerned with relations between relations, proximity, gaps and self-reflexivity.
— Caroline Hancock