Joseph Kosuth


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Almine Rech Shanghai is pleased to present Tabula Rasa (14 Times), Joseph Kosuth’s third solo show at the gallery comprised of fourteen neon works in eight colors titled ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell)’ in both Chinese and English that pose the question Any Message?  

In this recent series, Kosuth appropriates text from George Orwell’s 1948 dystopian novel 1984, a story which is a tragic illustration of what the world would be without the freedom to think and evaluate truth. Orwell’s unanswered question is mediated through Kosuth’s signature use of neon, toggling back and forth between languages and colors, demanding an answer of the viewer.

A pioneer of Conceptual art, throughout his career, Kosuth has insisted on maintaining the integrity and rigor of his fundamental insight that the ‘visual’ component of art is only one part of a complex structure that produces meaning within art, and not its basis. Since the 1960s, Kosuth has used inherited meanings, particularly language-based categories, such as quotes, names, and definitions, to construct new meaning in visual work. His work poses fundamental questions about the presentation and reception of art by investigating the very categories that define what art is. He selects elements for his work from contexts outside of visual art: philosophy, literature, history, popular culture, dictionaries, scientific theory, and linguistics, among others. 

- Joseph Kosuth Studio