Contemporaneous Extension


The Fence between Language and Meaning…is Neon?

After taking a month off from Whitehot I’m coming back with a review of Joseph Kosuth’s show at Sean Kelly Gallery that closed at the end of April. The show was deliciously cerebral. I found myself revisiting each of the three pieces several times, squandering between the seemingly meaningless strings of text. I almost fell into Kosuth’s literary trap and gave up, foraging through the intellectual allusions I couldn’t place. This is exactly his point, however. Words and even images assume a certain degree of responsibility to their message, but what if we could extract something entirely new yet significant and relatable in itself? So it goes, the ceaseless battle between word and meaning. Here’s a small excerpt from the review:

“Kosuth calls upon the words of Samuel Beckett in the exhibition’s title work, Texts (Waiting for –) for Nothing (2011). Kosuth identifies with Becket’s incessant, Kafkaesque search for meaning. Waiting for Godot and the lesser known Texts for Nothing meld in a continuous stream of white light along the upper echelon of an ebony room. Kosuth exposes the waiting game of Vladamir and Estragon in Godot and their inability to break from the suspense. Uniformity, specifically the grey skies and “dim omnipresent light” in the text, summons a fear of plateauing and its subsequent mediocrity. Kosuth battles this paranoia aesthetically by denying the ability to see all the words in the installation simultaneously. He enforces an interaction with the room rather than a stationary viewing experience. The obligatory stroll also surrenders the body to Kosuth’s singular search for meaning. The audience looks up as if in praise or veneration to ennui. The concentric saunter attaches the viewer to the space. Repetitive reads allow memory to inject meaning into the words and inform the work through individual experience.”

FULL REVIEW HERE.

Joseph Kosuth, 'Ulysses, 18 Titles and Hours', 1998. neon, transformers

Joseph Kosuth, 'Ulysses, 18 Titles and Hours', 1998. neon, transformers

Joseph Kosuth, ''Texts (Waiting for-) for Nothing', Samuel Beckett, in play,' 2011. neon, transformers

Joseph Kosuth, ''Texts (Waiting for-) for Nothing', Samuel Beckett, in play,' 2011. neon, transformers

Joseph Kosuth, 'Titled (Art as Idea as Idea)', 1968. 10 mounted photographs each: 48 x 48 inches (121.9 x 121.9 cm)

Joseph Kosuth, 'Titled (Art as Idea as Idea)', 1968. 10 mounted photographs each: 48 x 48 inches (121.9 x 121.9 cm)

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