Internationally renowned Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth will present a new installation work titled ‘Texts (Waiting for—-) for Nothing’, Samuel Beckett, in play, as part of a major exhibition of installation works that will also include two historical works by the artist. ‘Samuel Beckett, in play’ will put into play two of Beckett’s writings, one quintessentially associated with the author—Waiting for Godot—and the other much lesser known – Texts for Nothing. Kosuth’s project as an artist shares a significant concern with Beckett: both practices manifest a parallel concern with meaning. Beckett approaches the question of meaning by investigating its absence, especially in those locations where we would most hope to find it, while Kosuth approaches meaning as something undeniably present and poses questions concerned with how it is produced—by the artist and by the viewer.
The new installation work, in part cancelled warm white neon, runs throughout the perimeter of the main gallery space and constructs a unique environment in which the work is approached, one which represents a departure from Kosuth’s previous work.
The exhibition will also include two other historic installation works. The artist’s first gallery exhibition, an installation shown in Los Angeles in 1968 and titled Nothing, will be shown at the Sean Kelly Gallery for the first time in America since the original exhibition and consists of the first showing of his seminal dictionary definition works. Finally, in the front room, is a neon installation work based on James Joyce’s Ulysses, from 1998, which is a sister work to the one previously exhibited on the ceiling of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin on the occasion of the James Joyce Bloomsday Anniversary exhibition in 2004.
Joseph Kosuth is one of the pioneers of Conceptual art and installation art, initiating language based works and appropriation strategies in the 1960s. His work has consistently explored the production and role of language and meaning within art. His over forty-five year inquiry 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, including five Documenta(s) and seven Venice Biennale(s). Awards include the Brandeis Award, 1990, the Frederick Weisman Award, 1991, the Venice Biennale Menzione d’Onore, 1993, and the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government in 1993. Kosuth was awarded a Cassandra Foundation Grant in 1968, when he was only 23, as the choice of Marcel Duchamp one week before he died. In 1999, a 3.00 franc postage stamp was issued by the French Government in honour of his work in Figeac. In 2001, he received the Laurea Honoris Causa, doctorate in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Bologna. In 2003, Kosuth received the Austrian Republic’s highest honor for accomplishments in science and culture, the Decoration of Honour in Gold. In 2009, Kosuth’s exhibition ‘ni apparence ni illusion,’ an installation work throughout the 12th century walls of the Louvre palace, opened at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, and will become a permanent work in January 2012.